Information on Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implants are benefiting thousands of severely or profoundly deaf adults and children who have viable neurons in the inner ear that can respond to direct electrical stimulation. These electrical devices deliver sound to the inner ear, bypassing the damaged hair cells to deliver rich auditory impulses directly to the auditory nerves. Cochlear implants help patients hear, improve their understanding of speech and improve their speaking ability.

Three Components

Headpiece – Worn externally behind the ear like a hearing aid, the headpiece has a microphone where sound enters and travels down a cable to a speech processor.

Speech Processor – A small box worn in a pocket or on a belt changes the sound from the microphone into an electrical code and sends the code back up into the headpiece. Most patients now choose to wear a miniature speech processor behind the ear like a hearing aid.

Implantable Receiver – Surgically placed within the cochlea, the implantable receiver takes the electrical code and sends it through tiny wires to the inner ear to directly stimulate the hearing nerve fibers.

The brain adapts to give the person what sounds like almost normal speech. While the result does not fully reproduce normal sound, the device filters out background noise and is good for person-to-person conversation.

The three major types of cochlear implants are available—the Nucleus, Clarion and Med-El devices. The surgical procedure generally lasts about 2 hours. The team helps each patients choose the most appropriate device.

For more information, please call 216-844-5500.

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