Treatment: Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is used to treat profoundly deaf people who are not helped by hearing aids. The device consists of tiny electrodes surgically implanted in the cochlea deep in the inner ear and a receiver that is embedded in the skull just behind and above the ear. A microphone, sound processor, and transmitter are worn externally. A cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing, but it enables patterns of sound to be detected. Combined with lip-reading, it may enable speech to be understood.

External components

The microphone detects sounds and converts them into electrical signals, which travel to the sound processor. Selected signals are relayed back to the transmitter behind the ear and then transmitted to the implanted components of the cochlear implant.

Inside the ear

Signals from the transmitter are detected by the implanted receiver and travel along a wire to the cochlea. Implanted electrodes are activated by the signals and stimulate the cochlear nerve to send impulses to the brain.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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