What is a Cochlear Implant?
Cochlear implants are surgical devices used for
those who are profoundly hard of hearing. The patient must have a 70-90%
decibel hear loss to qualify for a cochlear implant. It is also known
as the Bionic Ear.
It consists of one instrument placed under the skin and a
second placed behind the ear. A microphone picks up sound from the atmosphere
and sends it to a transmitter.
The transmitter receives the signals and converts
them into electric impulses. These impulses are sent to the implant which is
equipped with electrodes.
The electrodes then begin stimulating the acoustic
sensory nerves of the inner ear.
Although Cochlear implants do not
restore normal speech and hearing capabilities they give the patient the
capability of listening and communicating more effectively.
The basic benefit of
the cochlear implant is that it replaces functions lost by the cochlea or
inner ear and benefits the seriously deaf patient.
The cochlear implant
assists deafness caused by the non stimulation of auditory nerves. As the
implant assists the nervous system, a patient who chooses to use a cochlear
implant chooses a non reversible procedure.
After the implant a series of
post operative therapies are given to the patient to adjust to the bionic ear.
The earliest research on the possibilities and benefits of the surgical
intervention of a cochlear implant was 30 years ago in France.
Researchers at The University of Melbourne Australia have researched and
developed the cochlear implant that is used today.
The Food and Drug
Administration approves of four manufacturers of cochlear implants.
Combi, Nucleus, Clarion and 3M are the major manufacturers of cochlear
implants. The introduction of the cochlear implant was a miraculous,
permanent and literally, ‘nerve racking’ system of helping the hard of hearing
enjoy the pleasures of communication.
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Learn More: How does a Cochlear Implant work?