A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is implanted during surgery. It helps provide hearing to people who have a certain type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is usually caused by damage or a defect in the inner ear. The implants can directly stimulate the auditory nerve to send information to the brain.
Cochlear implants have 3 parts:
Speech processor—The speech processor looks like a long, narrow calculator. It is worn behind the ear or on a belt. It increases sound, converts it into digital signals, and sends these signals to the transmitter.
Transmitter—The transmitter is a headphone that is worn behind the ear. It receives electrical signals from the speech processor and sends them through the skin to the receiver.
Receiver—The receiver is the part that is implanted. It is a magnetic disc about the size of a quarter. It is placed under the skin behind one ear. A wire that runs from the receiver to an electrode array that is placed in the inner ear, where it stimulates the nerves of the cochlea.
Cochlear implants provide a heightened sense of sound for adults and children with profound hearing loss. They are designed for people whose hearing does not improve with surgical correction or the use of a hearing aid. Cochlear implants will not restore or create normal hearing.
Implantation of receiver—A cut will be made in the skin behind the ear. A hole will be drilled through the bone behind the ear to the cochlea. A wire with the electrode array will be placed through the hole and into the cochlea. The receiver will then be put against the bone behind your ear. The wire will be attached to the receiver. The incision will be closed with stitches.
External hook-up—In 4-6 weeks, the area should be healed. At this point, the transmitter headpiece and speech processor will be connected.
Cochlear implants. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 5, 2016.
Cochlear implants. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 3, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2016.
Cochlear implants. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated October 28, 2015. Accessed May 5, 2016.
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