What is a Cochlear Implant?
- A device for individuals with hearing loss who do not receive enough benefit from hearing aids.
- It works by electrically stimulating cells in the hearing nerve, which send signals to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
How does a Cochlear Implant work?
There are two components:
- A surgically implanted auditory prosthesis with a receiver/stimulator and electrode array.
- Externally worn components including a speech processor (worn over the ear like a hearing aid) and transmitting coil (worn in the hair).
Sound is picked up by the speech processor’s microphone.
- The speech processor analyzes and digitizes sound into coded signals that are sent to the transmitting coil.
- The transmitter sends code across the skin to the internal implant (receiver/stimulator) via an FM signal.
- The internal implant converts code to electrical signals, which are sent to electrodes on the array inside cochlea to stimulate the hearing nerve.
- The hearing nerve sends signals to the brain that are interpreted as sound.
- The transmissions are rapid and sounds are heard instantly.
Who is a candidate for a Cochlear Implant?
- An individual who does not receive enough benefit from hearing aids to understand speech well through listening alone and has significant difficulty communicating in everyday life.
- An individual with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both.
What are the benefits?
It varies based on each person's hearing history. People with cochlear implants are able to:
- Detect sounds at soft and even very soft levels.
- Understand speech better and become less reliant on lip reading.
- Use the telephone more easily.
- Understand better in noise.
- Feel less isolated and more involved in daily life.