Hearing loss is a common condition known to almost people of all ages. When the situation worsens, people go to audiologists who would then recommend them with suitable hearing aids for treating hearing loss, medication and treatments. One of them is the cochlear implant.
A cochlear implant is a small device that works electronically to provide hearing sense to the person suffering from hearing loss, or the one who is declared near to deaf by the audiologists. The cochlear implant is all based on a small external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion placed surgically under skin. This doesn’t mean that natural hearing can be restored with the cochlear implant; the deaf person can listen and respond to the sounds in the environment, and can hear close to the natural hearing sense.
Parts of Cochlear Implant
The parts of cochlear implant include:
- A microphone for picking up different sounds from the surroundings.
- A speech processor for selection and arrangement of the picked-up sounds by the microphone.
- A transmitter and receiver/stimulator for receiving signals from the speech processor and converting them into electric impulses.
- An electrode array that is basically a collection of electrodes, for collecting the impulses from the stimulator and sending them across different areas of the auditory nerve.
The Actual Working of Cochlear Implant
There is a misconception about cochlear implant, as many people consider it as a hearing aid. Cochlear implants are way different from hearing aids as hearing aids are used for amplifying sounds for detection by the damaged ears. Whereas, cochlear implants bypass portions of damaged ear and stimulate the auditory nerve directly. The signals generated by cochlear implant are transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain, which is then interpreted by the brain as sound. However, when you listen from the cochlear implant, it is way different than the normal hearing and you might require time to learn it. Cochlear implants are helpful in allowing people to recognize warning signals and understand speeches.
How does someone receive a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implant requires a surgical procedure and therapy for the user to learn the sense of hearing back. The device levels of usability are different for each user. To decide if you need a cochlear implant, you should get in an active discussion with your audiologist, who must be an experienced cochlear implant surgeon. The process is however expensive. This might include the person’s health insurance, but nor always. There are individuals who prefer not having a cochlear implant due to a variety of reasons. They must consider than surgical implantation’s are safe always. They should also learn to interpret sounds generated by the cochlear implant and must show the willingness to learn. The overall process requires time and practice, and the involvement of an experienced audiologist or professional.
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