The Cochlear Implant
Cochlear implants are a special type of hearing device designed for more complex hearing loss. The implant is surgically implanted and works by bypassing the damaged hair cells of the ear that physically send the neural signal to the brain. The implant has four components: a microphone, a signal processor, a signal coupler, and one or more electrodes, which are implanted onto the cochlea. The microphone is fairly visible and is located directly above the ear outside the body.
An example of a chochlear implant before surgery
This cochlear implant is unique because of it's ability to modify sound in the same manner as the digital hearing aid and transfer the sound into electronic impulses. These impulses travel to electrodes that are implanted onto the damaged hair cells in the cochlea. The electrodes transmit these impulses, with some loss loss of quality, down the auditory nerve to the brain.
A diagram of a cochlear implant inside the ear Go back to Present Technology Page Go back to Main Page