Monday, November 29, 2010

Cochlear Implants

Deafness, affects almost 600,000 persons alone in the United States. Deafness is caused by damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. Hearing aide become useless because the damaged hair cells cannot convert the amplified sound into electrical signals. Cochlear implants that helps create electrodes and is inserted into the cochlea to create hearing by electrically stimulating the cell bodies of the auditory never fibers that are distributed along the length of the cochlea (Goldstein). Cochlea implants bypass the damaged hair cells and stimulates auditory nerve fibers directly making cochlea implants much more effective than hearing aides (Goldstein). The cochlea implant is made up of a few different parts such as the microphone, the sound processor, the transmitter and the reciever. Each part has a specific function. The microphone recieves the sound signal, transforms it into electrical signals, and sends those signals to the sound processor (Goldstein). The sound processor shapes the sound and splits it into frequencies recieved by the microphone into a number of frequency bands (Golstein). The transmitter helps transmit coded signals recieved from the processor through the skin to the receiver (Goldstein). The receiver is surgically mounted on the mastoid bone, beneath the skin. It picks up coded signals that are sent to electrodes implanted inside the cochlea (Goldstein).

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