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Cochlear Implant

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a device which may be able to provide useful hearing sensations and improved communication ability for adults and children who have a significant hearing loss and receive reduced, little or no benefit from a hearing aid.  

A young boy with a Cochlear Implant, smiling and playing with a ball

Parent with a Cochlear Implant playing with two young children

                                                              Images courtesy of Cochlear Ltd

What is in a Cochlear Implant System?

The system consists of the internal cochlear implant and the external sound processor.

Diagram showing how a cochlear implant works

                         Adapted from images courtesy of Cochlear Ltd

How hearing works with a Cochlear Nucleus Implant System

The implant and the sound processor work together to transfer sounds from the environment into electrical signals, which are then presented to the inner ear.  The inner ear and brain then perceive these signals as sound or hearing.

  1. The sound processor captures sound and converts it into digital code.
  2. The sound processor transmits the digitally coded sound through the coil to the implant just under the skin.
  3. The implant converts the digitally coded sound to electrical signals and sends them along the electrode array, which is positioned in the cochlea.
  4. The implant’s electrodes stimulate the cochlea’s hearing nerve fibres, which relay the sound signals to the brain to produce hearing sensations.