How Do Cochlear Implants Function?

Have you been Curious with us for a while? If so, you may have acquired a lot of knowledge about technology. Maybe you’ve read about robots or touch screens. You might even have knowledge about the types of technology athletes wear. Today’s Wonder of the Day revolves around another remarkable invention—cochlear implants!

What exactly are cochlear implants? They are devices designed to assist people with hearing. However, they differ significantly from hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sound, while cochlear implants go beyond that. They are specifically created for individuals who have severe hearing impairment or are completely deaf.

So how do cochlear implants work? Each implant consists of two components—one internal and one external. The internal piece is surgically placed under a person’s skin behind the ear. From there, it connects to the cochlear nerve in the inner ear.

The external piece includes a magnet that aids in connecting it to the internal piece. It also contains a microphone that captures sound. The sounds are then processed through a speech processor and transmitted to a transmitter. The transmitter sends the sound to the receiver, which is part of the internal component of the implant.

Through this process, the sounds are converted into electrical signals. These signals travel through electrodes, reaching the cochlear nerve and then the brain. It is in the brain where they are interpreted. This process enables the individual to hear various sounds from the environment, including human voices.

Are you or someone you know considering getting a cochlear implant? A doctor can assist in determining if it is the right choice. These devices have a significant impact on many individuals. They enable people to hear without relying on lip reading, enjoy music, and communicate over the phone.

After the surgery, it takes some time to adjust and learn to hear using cochlear implants. Individuals work closely with doctors and specialists to maximize the potential of the implants. Additionally, cochlear implants require special care. Users need to recharge the batteries and protect them from water.

Cochlear implants are likely to continue advancing. That’s one thing about technology—it is constantly evolving. What innovative devices might be next? Perhaps you will invent the next groundbreaking invention yourself!

Give It a Go

Ready to delve deeper? Seek the assistance of a friend or family member to participate in one or more of the activities below.

Explore the Amazing World of Ears!

Discover fascinating facts about the human ear and showcase your knowledge by creating a diagram. Don’t forget to label the different parts! Take it a step further by jotting down the five most intriguing facts you’ve learned on the back of your diagram. Share your masterpiece with a friend or family member to spread the joy of learning!

Revolutionize the World with Your Invention

Put your imagination to work and envision the next groundbreaking technology that could enhance human abilities. Will it revolutionize sight or enhance taste? Describe your invention in a paragraph, including its appearance and functionality. Afterwards, present your idea to a friend or family member and gather their thoughts on your ingenious creation.

Get Hands-On with the Ear

Delve deeper into the workings of the ear by crafting your very own model eardrum. Observe how different sounds make the rice move and reflect on the lessons this experiment has taught you about the ear. Engage in a thought-provoking discussion with a friend or family member to further enhance your understanding.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/cochlear-implants (accessed 31 Mar. 2021)
  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/cochlear-implant-surgery (accessed 31 Mar. 2021)
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzgQrHFDNLE (accessed 31 Mar. 2021)
  • https://learnersdictionary.com/ (accessed 31 Mar. 2021)

FAQ

1. How do cochlear implants work?

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that are surgically implanted in the inner ear to help individuals with severe hearing loss or deafness. The implant consists of two parts: an external microphone and speech processor, and an internal receiver and electrode array. The microphone picks up sound and sends it to the speech processor, which converts the sound into electrical signals. These signals are then transmitted to the internal receiver, which sends them to the electrode array. The array stimulates the auditory nerve fibers, bypassing the damaged hair cells in the cochlea, and sends the signals to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.

2. Who is a candidate for cochlear implants?

Cochlear implants are typically recommended for individuals who have severe to profound hearing loss in both ears and are unable to benefit from hearing aids. They may be suitable for adults and children as young as 12 months old. Candidates for cochlear implants undergo a series of evaluations and tests to determine their eligibility, including hearing tests, speech and language assessments, and medical evaluations. The final decision is made based on the individual’s hearing loss, speech understanding abilities, and overall health.

3. What are the benefits of cochlear implants?

Cochlear implants can provide significant benefits for individuals with severe hearing loss or deafness. They can improve the ability to understand speech and communicate effectively. Cochlear implant users often report an improvement in their quality of life, including better social interactions and increased confidence. With a cochlear implant, individuals can also enjoy a wider range of sounds and music. However, it is important to note that the success of a cochlear implant varies from person to person, and it may take time and rehabilitation to adapt to the new way of hearing.

4. What is the surgical procedure for cochlear implantation?

The surgical procedure for cochlear implantation involves several steps. First, a small incision is made behind the ear, and a small hole is drilled into the mastoid bone. The internal receiver is then inserted into the mastoid bone. Next, the electrode array is carefully threaded into the cochlea through a tiny opening in the inner ear. Once the implant is in place, the incision is closed, and the external components are connected. The surgery typically takes a few hours to complete, and most individuals can go home the same day or the following day. After the surgery, a period of healing and activation of the implant is necessary before the individual can start using the cochlear implant.

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