The inability to hear can be frustrating. Thankfully, children and adults with a severe hearing loss no longer have to rely on only sign language to communicate. Cochlear implants are hearing aids that can help treat loss of hearing. Unlike the other types of hearing aids available, cochlear implants do not amplify sounds but bypass the part of the ear that does not function properly and delivers sound to the auditory nerves in the form of electrical signals. In this way, it does not restore hearing or cure the loss of hearing but allows severely deaf people to hear sounds. Also, unlike other hearing aids, surgery is required to insert the cochlear implant.
Components of a Cochlear Implant
Cochlear implants can be worn by children and adults. They can be implanted in one ear or both ears at the same time. There are two components to a cochlear implant: the internal component and the external component.
How does a cochlear implant work?
The microphone behind the patient’s ear picks up sounds, amplifies them and transmits them to the speech processor. The processor then analyses the sounds and digitizes them. These signals are then forwarded to the transmitter which codes them and sends them to the internal receiver through magnetic coupling. The receiver converts the codes into electrical pulses and dispatches them to the electrodes. These electrodes are inserted seep into the inner ear. When they receive the signals, they stimulate the auditory nerve. These nerves then interpret the signals as sounds.