What is a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implants are designed to enable people with a significant hearing loss, who derive limited benefit from hearing aids, to access sound. A cochlear implant electrically stimulates the hearing nerve, thereby bypassing the damaged parts of the inner ear. This signal is sent to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
A cochlear implant has both internal and external parts.
The internal part is known as the electrode array or implant. It is inserted surgically, usually under general anaesthetic. It consists of:
- A receiver package with a magnet placed under the skin above the ear
- An electrode array placed in the cochlea in the inner ear
The external part is known as the sound processor. It is worn behind the ear and consists of:
- A sound processor with a microphone to pick up sounds
- A cable and circular coil connected to the sound processor that is held on the head by a magnet, which enables sounds to be transferred to the electrode array
For more information on cochlear implantation please see: https://www.advancedbionics.com/content/advancedbionics/com/en/home.html
Who may benefit from a cochlear implant?
Both children and adults with a significant hearing loss, who receive limited benefit from hearing aids, may benefit from cochlear implants. A cochlear implant may be suitable for those with a congenital or acquired hearing loss, but will depend on factors such as the anatomy of the hearing system and exposure to sound in the past.
Possible outcomes using a cochlear implant?
All implant users have different experiences of sound through their cochlear implants.
A cochlear implant may help with:
- Hearing sounds in the environment
- Hearing speech
- Improving the ease of listening
- Improved hearing in background noise
- Increased access to sounds in music
- For children implanted at an early age, developing spoken speech and listening skills
- Monitoring the pitch and volume of your own voice
- For some, using the telephone
More more information about rehabilitation following cochlear implantation please see: