Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cochlear Implant

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps someone hear.  Most of the people that acquire one of these are deaf or have trouble hearing.  The device has a piece that goes inside the ear and a piece that goes outside the ear.  The part that is outside fits snugly behind the ear and the part that is inside is surgically put under the skin.  The implant consists of a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver, and an electrode array.  While the cochlear implant does not give a deaf person their full hearing back, it allows them to be able to make out different sounds and help them understand better when someone is talking to them.  Unlike a hearing aid, this implant works past the damaged part of the ear and goes straight to stimulating the auditory nerve.  The signals from the auditory nerve are sent to the brain and are recognized by the brain as sound.  It takes some getting used to because it is not like normal hearing.  Both children and adults who are deaf can get this implant.  For a young child, it is better for them to get it as early as possible for it will expose them to sounds during a time when they are developing their speech and language skills.  Studies have been conducted to show that it is more effective for a deaf child to get a cochlear before 18 months of age.  For adults who lost their hearing later in life, they can relearn the sounds that they can remember by relating them to the sounds that come through the cochlear.  The cochlear implant has allowed science to basically reverse a defect that can come with age or reverse a defect that could cause someone to live a life in silence.

Jessica Gancarz

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