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Cochlear Implants
By: Victor J. Gabbidon
• A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device
that provides a sense of hearing in the hearing impaired.
• Not to be confused with hearing aids which simply amplify
sound for those hard of hearing. Cochlear implants work to
replicate the natural processes of the ear.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
• Designed for patients with sensorineural hearing
• Caused by abnormalities or lack of quantity in the
hair cells of the cochlea.
• The implant serves as a makeshift cochlea by
bypassing the patients improperly functioning
• The design of a cochlear implant is composed of 3
main parts: A sound processor, a transmitter, and an
internal receptor with electrode wires.
• Of the 3 major components, only one is actually
implanted internally.
• The implantation of the
internal portion of the
device is a relatively simple
procedure that can be done
under general anesthesia.
• A small incision is made
behind the ear and the
device is implanted on the
• Sound processor picks up through microphone
and converts it to digital code.
• Code is transmitted to internal receptor through
transmitter that is connected magnetically to
internal implant.
• Implant converts code to electrical signal which
is then sent by electrodes to cochlea’s hearing
• In order for the device to be implanted residual
hair cells in the cochlea must be destroyed.
• Procedure essentially irreversible in terms of
having the same hearing capacity as before the
• For this reason cochlear implants are typically
only implanted on one ear
The Future of Hearing Technology
• Esteem®:
• Has the ability to restore hearing in patients that
are legally deaf.
• The device has no external components and is a
more atheistic alternative to traditional