Cochlear Implant Information
A cochlear implant is an electronic medical assistance device that is inserted in the inner ear. This is done through surgery and has shown great results amongst those using it. A large portion of cochlear implant users, who previously were deaf, can now hear and listen just like any normal person. The basis for a cochlear implant can be dated back to 1790 involving an experiment with rods in the ears and a battery connected to them. However, progress in the field has been rapid and a cochlear implant works just as well as a natural ear.
Cochlear implants have both internal and external parts. The internal components consist of a receiver and a simulator which are held in a bone. These convert the signals from the transmitter (external component) into electrical impulses and send them through cables into the electrodes that are also inside the ear. The visible parts of a cochlear implant include a microphone that senses sound in the surroundings, a speech processor which prioritizes and filters out speech over other sounds and sends the signals to the transmitter, which passes on the converted signals to the internal components.
Just like everything natural, there is no substitute for natural hearing. A cochlear implant can never match the quality and efficiency of a fully functional ear. However, it offers restitution for hearing impaired persons to an extent that enables them to communicate normally with the rest of the world. Cochlear implants are known to be extremely helpful to persons who lose their hearing due to an accident or the like. Being trained to speak and hear all their lives, they can easily adjust to the implant. On the other hand, those who are deaf by birth do not see such good results.
There are currently over 180,000 people in the world who are using cochlear implants. Majority of them have said that their hearing has improved with the implant, some claim there isn't any difference and a small fraction say they would be better off without the implant. These implants are used by adults just as by children. Amongst children, the implant is done at a young age if the child is deaf by birth. It is usually done so to avoid additional therapy at a later age that comes along with a cochlear implant.
The success of an implant is determined by several factors. A mere implant doesn't guarantee the chance of being able to hear. The cause of hearing loss, history of hearing ability and speech recognition ability are the critical factors when considering the success of an implant. Only persons who are completely deaf or have severe hearing impairment are candidates for implants. These people should also have a functional auditory nerve and more than anything the psychological mindset to hear and listen.
Cochlear implants are expensive, and even with advances in health research, they will be for a long time... However, private insurance and social security cover almost the entire cost. Despite the cost, implants for deaf persons are a good investment given the fact that hearing for them, might actually become a reality.