How does a cochlear implant work?
The cochlear implant consists of two distinct pieces; one is an
internal receiver/stimulator (surgically implanted) and the second
is the external speech processor, which is worn on the outer ear
(pinna) and looks similar in appearance to a behind-the-ear hearing
aid. Surgery is required to place the internal device. The external
components are typically fit several weeks after surgery.
How a Cochlear Implant Works:
- The microphone on the speech processor captures sound and the
processor converts the sound to a digital signal.
- The speech processor sends the digital signal across the skin
to the internal implant.
- The internal implant changes the signal to electrical energy,
sending it to the electrode array in the cochlea.
- The electrodes stimulate the hearing nerve and the brain
interprets this stimulation as sound.
Below is an image of the external portion of the cochlear
implant. #1 is the speech processor and #2 is the headpiece.
Images taken from:
Washington University School of Medicine
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Internal Receiver (Goes inside the skull)
Speech Processor and Transmitter (External Portion)
Internal and external portions with a remote.Â