Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cochlear Implants: How it works?

Cochlear implants have been able to let the deaf have a chance hear once again. First off, what exactly are cochlear implants? An cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that helps provide a sense of sound to a person that is either profoundly deaf or have an extreme hard of hearing. The implant consists of an outside portion that sits behind the ear and a second part that needs to be surgically placed under the skin.

A cochlear implant consists of a microphone, which picks up the sound in the outer environment; a speech processor, which picks up, selects, and arranges sounds from the microphone; a transmitter and receiver/stimulator, that receives signals from the speech processor and converts them into electric impulses; and finally an electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.

There is a large difference between a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. It is very useful for deaf people to get a sense of hearing sounds in their environment and helps them understand speech. When it comes to hearing aids, they only amplify sounds so they may be detected by damaged ears. In cochlear implants, they go through damaged portions of the ear and is directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The signals are then generated by the actual implant and are sent by the way of the auditory nerve to the brain. This then recognizes the signals as sound.

When hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing. It does take awhile to learn or relearn how to hear. This does allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and to enjoy a conversation with a person.

What not many people know, when getting a cochlear implant, it does not fully restore normal hearing. Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and enjoy a conversation in person or by telephone.

I personally had a person in my family to under go a cochlear implant surgery. My younger cousin was born with a extreme hard of hearing. At the age of 4, his family had decided to let him under go the surgery so he can have a better life growing up. He did have a hearing aid but it was not enough for him. I remembered that after his surgery, he had more of a happier life and you can notice it much more. At first, it did take awhile for the family to adjust, but after going through the whole relearning process, he and his family seemed so much happier.

~Post 2 Andrea Buelo

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