Cochlear Implants

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is surgically inserted into the inner ear to replace the function of a damaged inner ear (cochlea).

Many people who suffer from hearing loss have damaged hair cells in the inner ear. Conventional hearing aids capture the sound signal and amplify it. The signal is sent through the normal auditory channel. If the hearing loss is too severe, amplifying sound in this way will have no effect. A cochlear implant transforms the sound signal into an electrical signal, which is then sent directly to the auditory nerve thus bypassing the damaged cochlea.

 

Who needs a cochlear implant?

  • Those who have a moderate to profound hearing loss in one or both ears and/or
  • Receive very little or no benefit from conventional hearing aids.
  • Score 65% or less on sentence recognition testing done by audiologists.

 

Cochlear Implants in children

Cochlear implants can help children who are born with hearing deficits develop the speech and language skills they need to attend school. The success of cochlear implants are dependent on a number of factors, including the cause of hearing loss, duration of hearing loss, speed of intervention as well as the support and commitment of the child’s family and significant others.

Having realistic expectations and a good understanding of cochlear implants is crucial for success of implantation. Cochlear implants, although they enable hearing, will never provide an individual with natural hearing. Cochlear implantation requires careful consideration.