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What is a Cochlear Implant?

What is a Cochlear Implant?

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A Cochlear Implant is an implanted electronic hearing device, designed to produce useful hearing sensations to a person with severe to profound nerve deafness by electrically stimulating nerves inside the inner ear.

How does a Cochlear Implant work?

The Cochlear Implant receives sound from the outside environment, processes it, and sends small electric currents near the auditory nerve. These electric currents activate the nerve, which then sends a signal to the brain. The brain learns to recognise this signal and the person experiences this as "hearing.”

The Cochlear Implant somewhat simulates natural hearing, where sound creates an electrical current that stimulates the auditory nerve. However, the result is not the same as normal hearing.

A Cochlear Implant consists of two main parts:-

MED-EL OPUS 2 Audio Processor (example)

MED-EL OPUS 2 Audio Processor (example)

1) The externally worn speech processor. This is positioned right behind the ear and uses microphones to pick up speech and environmental sounds.

A magnet holds the external system in place next to the implanted internal system.

CONCERTO Cochlear Implant with FLEX24 Electrode Array (Example)

CONCERTO Cochlear Implant with FLEX24 Electrode Array (Example)

2) The internally implanted tiny receiver and electrode system. The processor captures sound signals and transmits them to a receiver implanted under the skin behind the ear.

The receiver sends the signals to electrodes implanted in the snail-shaped inner ear (cochlea.) The surgeon places the electrode array in the cochlea, bypassing the damaged hair cells

Useful videos which demonstrate how a Cochlear Implant Works

A Cochlear Implant by Eric Giessmann

The Synchrony Cochlear Implant - MED-EL

Cochlear video - How a Cochlear Implant works

Advanced Bionics - How a Cochlear Implant works

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If you like this article, you might like... The Cochlear Implant Animator. A fascinating interview with Animator and Director, Eric Giessmann, who talks about his path to success, losing his hearing and what inspired him to create the ‘Ciborg/Cochlear Implant animation.'

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