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Last updated: 11/24/2009

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Most profoundly deaf patients who receive an implant are able to discern medium and loud sounds, including speech, at comfortable listening levels. Many use sound clues from the implant, together with speech reading and other facial cues, to achieve...

understanding. Almost all adults improve their communication skills when combining the implant with speech reading (lip reading), and some can understand spoken words without speech reading. More than half of adults who lost hearing after they learned to speak can understand some speech without speech reading. Especially with the use of accessory devices, the great majority can utilize the telephone with their implants.

Children who were born deaf or who lost their hearing before they could speak have the most difficulty in learning to use the implant. Research suggests, however, that most of these children are able to learn spoken language and understand speech using the implant. In general, the earlier the implant occurs the greater the chance of the implant providing sufficient sound input to provide speech understanding. As with the use of the telephone in adults, accessory devices such as special microphones often help the function of the implant in classroom settings.



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This animation not only shows how the ear detects sound waves and converts those waves into nerve signals, but it also shows how cochlear implants work and allow patients with nerve deafness to hear.

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A cochlear implant has a microphone outside the ear that transmits sounds to an implanted receiver. In turn, the receiver transmits electrical impulses to the cochlea and cochlear nerve, which is stimulated in normal hearing. (Illustration by GGS Inc.) A cochlear implant has a microphone outside the ear that transmits sounds to an implanted receiver. In turn, the receiver transmits electrical impulses to the cochlea and cochlear nerve, which is stimulated in normal hearing. (Illustration by GGS Inc.)




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A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. The cochlear implant is often referred to as a bionic ear. Unlike hearing aids, the cochlear implant does not amplify sound, but works by directly stimulating any functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with electric field stimulated through an electric impulse. External components of the cochlear implant include a microphone, speech processor and an RF transmitter. Similarly an RF receiver is implanted beneath the skull's skin. The transmitter has a piece of magnet by which it attaches to another magnet placed beside the receiver. When the receiver gets a signal, it will be transmitted to the implanted electrodes in the cochlea. The speech processor allows an individual to adjust the sound level of sensitivity.


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochlear_implant

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The development of the operative plan for a type of complex procedure requires weeks of planning and extensive study of the recipient patient’s clinical exam, radiological studies, and prior operative history.


-Dr. Daniel Alam

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