Cochlear implants (CI) are designed for individuals with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. These individuals receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. CIs bypass the non-functioning part of the cochlea in order to deliver electrical signals directly to the auditory nerve. They can be used effectively by both prelingually and postlingually deafened children and adults.
A cochlear implant consists of two parts, an external and an internal component.
How do cochlear implants work?
Cochlear implants convert everyday sounds into coded electrical impulses. These electrical pulses stimulate the auditory (hearing) nerve so that the brain can interpret these signals as sound. As the brain receives sound information very quickly, sounds are heard as they occur.
Benefits of a cochlear implant system
Cochlear implant systems can offer a wide range of benefits including hearing speech, environmental sounds and music. Results reported with today’s cochlear implants consistently indicate speech understanding for the majority of implanted patients. Benefit from a cochlear implant is most readily measured within the scientific community by the percentage of speech a cochlear implant user can understand in a laboratory setting without lip-reading. Although openset speech understanding is a very imporant measure of hearing ability, it is by no means the only benefit cochlear implant users report. The perception of environmental sounds, such as doorbells, alarm signals, etc. can make a substantial difference in the life of a person who is severely hard of hearing.
Who can benefit from a cochlear implant system?
The following guidelines may be helpful when deciding if a ci is right for you.