How does the cochlear implant work? Let us show you at Davis Family Hearing.

Hear Me Out: The Functionality of the Cochlear Implant

Making the decision to transition into the hearing world is personal and life-changing. Though many deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals choose not to seek out implements to improve their hearing, those who do must navigate the confusing world of hearing aids and cochlear implants. It can be difficult to know which is right for you. If you’re considering the cochlear implant, it helps to know how it works and who benefits the most from it before committing to ensure you receive the best results possible.

What Is a Cochlear Implant?

Cochlear implants are small, electronic devices that are made up of two equally-important components. The external device is affixed to the head behind the ear and the internal device is surgically connected to the auditory nerve in the inner ear. This technology is intended to simulate natural hearing by converting speech and sound into electronic pulses that stimulate the auditory nerve, bypassing the ear canal entirely. The implant requires numerous parts to accomplish this feat:

  • The microphone picks up sound and speech How does the cochlear implant work? At Davis Family Hearing, we can help you decide what's best for you.
  • The processor arranges sounds for transmission
  • The transmitter encodes the digitized sounds
  • The receiver collects the coded signals sent by the transmitter
  • The electrode array organizes the signals from the receiver and stimulates the cochlea

Though the implant can assist deaf or hard-of-hearing people in hearing and understanding others, it is important to note that hearing via a cochlear implant is not the same as natural hearing. Sounds and speech picked up by the implant are digitized and limited by the frequencies the microphone can handle. As such, cochlear implant recipients may not be able to enjoy music or sounds the same way as hearing individuals. However, understanding noise can assist individuals with many levels of deafness to interact and function independently in an overwhelmingly hearing world.

Who Can Use a Cochlear Implant?

Each individual’s deafness is unique, so it stands to reason the implant won’t work for everyone. The implant is most effective for those who have profound deafness or are severely hard-of-hearing. People who are mildly or moderately hard-of-hearing may be better served by traditional hearing aids.

Usually, cochlear implants are recommended for young children experiencing deafness beginning at 12 months. At 12 months of age, children are beginning to recognize sounds and speech and are learning language. With early intervention, young children can develop their speech and hearing skills in similar ways as children with normal hearing, allowing them to succeed in mainstream schools among hearing peers. These results entice parents to invest in cochlear implants for their children. According to the Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 38,000 children have received an implant as of 2012, and the number is projected to grow.

A child may be considered for a cochlear implant if they:

  • Are profoundly deaf in both ears
  • Don’t benefit from hearing aids
  • Have educational resources to assist them in developing auditory skills
  • Are otherwise healthy

Adults who are hard-of-hearing or deaf may also benefit from cochlear implants, especially if their hearing degenerated later in life. Although the sounds generated by the implant are not exactly the same as those heard with natural hearing, many of these patients are able to connect the sounds they hear through the implant to sounds they remember from their hearing days, making it easier to relearn how to hear.

Adults may be considered for the implant if they:

  • Have profound deafness in both ears
  • Don’t benefit from hearing aids
  • Are otherwise healthy
  • Want to ease their interactions in the hearing community



History of the Cochlear Implant from Davis Family Hearing. Audiologist Services in Florida

Whether you’re a parent of a deaf child or a deaf individual seeking a way to successfully interact with those in the hearing community, the decision to receive a cochlear implant should be considered carefully. If you aren’t sure if you or a loved one is a viable candidate for an implant, it’s best to consult a board-certified audiologist.

Floridians interested in learning more about their hearing loss and treatment options can trust the audiologists at Davis Family Hearing. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will assess your level of hearing loss and help you determine your hearing goals so we can administer the best treatment for you. Contact us online or call (352) 666-8910 to schedule an appointment today!


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