A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can help a patient with severe hearing problems to gain access to everyday sounds and the sound of speech.

The implant consists of a internal and external partThe internal part consists of an electronic package, a magnet and an electrode array. The external component is called a speech processor, this is worn behind the ear and connects to the implant via a magnet on the head.

The processor picks up the sound and converts this into digital information which is transmitted to the internal implant. The implant array is positioned within the cochlea. Along the length of the implant are tiny electrical contacts called electrodes.  Each electrode can give small electrical pulses to a specific part of the cochlea.  This triggers the auditory nerve and gives a sensation of sound. This then allows the person to have perception of sound and better understanding of speech.

Who is suitable for a cochlear implant?

This service is provided for both children and adults with a significant hearing loss and receive limited benefit from hearing aids. A cochlear implant may be suitable for those with either a congenital or an acquired hearing loss. Candidacy will depend on several factors such as the anatomy of the ear and general medical health.

Candidates with a profound hearing loss in the high frequencies, but aidable low frequency hearing may be suitable for Electro-Acoustic Stimulation (EAS). EAS combines the electric stimulation from a cochlear implant with an acoustic component from a conventional hearing aid.

For more information on the above please refer to our referral section.

Possible outcomes using a cochlear implant?

All implant users have different experiences of sound through their cochlear implants. An implant is able to give you access to sound, which your brain has to be trained to recognise. Adapting to the sound can take time and effort. It takes training and practice for sounds to be interpreted.

The factors below influence how well you/your child will do with the cochlear implant:

  • Age at implantation
  • Onset and duration of deafness
  • Educational setting and mode of communication
  • Additional disabilities
  • Commitment by the user
  • Local support (family and professionals)
  • A cochlear implant may help with:
  • Hearing sounds in the environment
  • Hearing speech
  • Improving the ease of listening
  • Improved hearing in background noise
  • Increased access to sounds in music
  • For children implanted at an early age, an implant may aid development of oral speech and listening skills
  • Monitoring the pitch and volume of your own voice
  • Using the telephone

 

 

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