It is already being hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. The electric cochlear implant is one of the greatest achievements in hearing health, and certainly makes the best use of technology compared to all other contraptions. Unlike hearing aids, this device does not require functioning inner ear organs in order to work properly or create the sensation of hearing. This tremendous tech has allowed people with no hearing to reclaim a lifestyle that includes communication and leisure activities that require sound to be enjoyed.
What Is An Electric Cochlear Implant?
An electric cochlear implant is a device that is made up of five unique pieces that has the ultimate goal of stimulating the auditory nerve so that it reads external sounds as though they were being processed biologically. There are two pieces that are actually implanted within the user: the electrode bundle and a device called the receiver. The individual wears the other three parts which are the microphone, the transmitter, and the speech processing unit. Together, these five pieces can be the difference between a life with and without sound.
How Does It Work?
An electric cochlear implant works by recognizing sounds in the external environment and bringing them into the device through the microphone. The sounds are directed to the speech processor, a piece of the contraption that filters the sound based on frequency levels to determine important sounds and background noise. Finally, the processed noises are sent to the transmitter piece which is responsible for taking the magnetic sound waves and sending them into the body where they are taken in by the receiver part of the electric cochlear implant. There, they are reorganized and sent through the implant pathway to the electrode bundle that is waiting by the auditory nerve system. The sounds, in their electrical form, are distributed by the electrodes into the nerves, which work directly on the brain making it think that it is hearing new sounds. Overall, the person with the implant hears synthetic sounds, even if they have severe hearing loss.
There are many reasons why people are beginning to think that the surgery is worth the implantation process. First, the technology has a high success rate to produce some hearing, which is great for people who have nearly total hearing loss. This means that people could begin to have conversations with one another, talk on the phone, and even listen to movies and television. The leisure activities that many people take for granted can be shared with hearing impaired friends and family members if they have a successful implantation. While it can be rather expensive, there is truly no price that can be put on being able to effectively communicate with others.