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
Who is a Candidate?
Internal Receiver (Goes inside the skull)
Speech Processor and Transmitter (External Portion)
Internal and external portions with a remote.Â