Cochlear implant

Cochlear implant

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Cochlear implants have helped over one hundred thousand people hear again or for the first time.

Who can they help?

Cochlear implants can help people who:

  • have severe to profound hearing loss in both ears
  • receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
  • score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests in the ear to be implanted
  • score 60% or less in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids

Many people have cochlear implants in both ears (bilateral). Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don’t.

How do they work?

Many people suffer hearing loss because they have damage to hair cells in the inner ear or (or cochlea). If some hearing nerves still work, a cochlear implant can allow you to hear.

250px-Cochlear_implant

 

  1. A sound processor worn behind the ear or on the body, captures sound and turns it into digital code. The sound processor has a battery that powers the entire system
  2. The sound processor transmits the digitally-coded sound through the coil to the implant
  3. The implant converts the digitally-coded sound into electrical impulses and sends them along the electrode array placed in the cochlea (the inner ear)
  4. The implant’s electrodes stimulate the cochlea’s hearing nerve, which then sends the impulses to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.

What are the benefits of a cochlear implant?

Many adults with cochlear implants report that they:

  • Hear better than with a hearing aid
    Study showed and average 80% sentence understanding, compared with 10% for hearing aids1
  • Can focus hearing in noisy environments
    Converse with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places
  • Reconnect with missed sounds
    The sound of the rain
  • Feel safer in the world
    Hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles and know where they are.
  • Talk on the phone
  • Enjoy music
  • How long they have had hearing loss
  • How severe their hearing loss is
  • The condition of the cochlea (inner ear)
  • Other medical conditions
  • Practice using their cochlear implant system

 

What factors can affect these benefits?

  • How long they have had hearing loss
  • How severe their hearing loss is
  • The condition of the cochlea (inner ear)
  • Other medical conditions
  • Practice using their cochlear implant system