What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is
a small electronic device that can help "make" sound if you have severe or
total hearing loss. The implant does the job of the damaged or absent nerve
cells that in a normal ear make it possible to hear. Cochlear implants can be
programmed according to your specific needs and degree of
Who can benefit from a cochlear implant?
implants may help people with severe or total hearing loss in both ears who do
not get any benefit from hearing aids. Cochlear implants have been shown to
improve a person's ability to understand speech and speak clearly. Unlike
hearing aids, cochlear implants do not make sounds louder but improve how well
you hear sound.
How does a cochlear implant work?
implant consists of a:
- Microphone worn behind the ear, to pick up
- Speech processor worn on the body. Some types may be worn
behind the ear.
- Small device placed under the skin near the ear,
with electrodes placed in the
cochlea . This is the cochlear implant.
The microphone picks up sound and sends it to the speech
processor, which changes the sound to information the cochlear implant can
understand. The implant then tells the nerves in the ear to send a message to
the brain. The message is understood as sound.
How do I best benefit from a cochlear implant?
Speech therapy will help you make the most of your cochlear implant. Training
in listening, language, and speech-reading skills (paying attention to people's
gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice) also help you.
Do cochlear implants have any complications?
Cochlear implants have a low rate of complications, which may
- Risks of surgery, such as infection and
medicine that numbs your senses during surgery (general anesthesia).
- The implant moving out of its proper location.
You may need a second surgery to relocate the implant.
- The implant
not working. It may not work because it was made incorrectly or because of an
injury to or problem within the ear.
- Twitching of the face (such as
a tic) or not being able to move muscles in the face. This is uncommon and