Electric Cochlear Implants: Functions And Benefits

There are many different ways that the hearing industry has changed in recent years. From the digital hearing aid to the new surgical techniques that are giving hope to thousands who suffer from hearing loss, these developments are looking to expand hearing abilities in people the world over. That is why it is important to learn about the benefits and functions of the electric cochlear implant. This device, while relatively new, has not garnered the attention that the others have, and this is due in part to the fact that it is rather radical in its approach. We will take a closer look at this device and the implications it has for the hearing industry.

What Are The Benefits Offered?

There are many different benefits that are offered by electric cochlear implants that are not found in hearing aids and other similar devices. First and foremost is the ability to use cochlear implants as a substitute for natural hearing, that is, to create hearing sensations where it was not possible before. That is because the electric cochlear implant is made to directly interface with the brain, bypassing any damaged organs and tissues that prevented hearing in the first place. This leads to the other benefits which include greatly increased communication abilities both in person to person speaking, but also through technology such as films and telephone calls.

What Are They Made Of?

Electric cochlear implants are made of five different specialized pieces that must work together to create sound in the individual. The first one of these parts is the microphone array. From there, the other pieces that are located externally are the transmitter device as well as the speech processing unit. There are also two other parts that are surgically implanted within the person that is using the device. These are called the electrode bundle and the receiver part of the contraption.

What Makes It Work?

There are several steps in the process to make these hearing devices function properly. First, there needs to be sound brought in from the outside of the device. This comes in through the microphone, which brings in sounds such as speech and recognizable sounds. These sounds are brought into the speech processor unit chamber where they are sorted according to loudness and frequency. After this, they are sent back through the loop to the transmitter piece that is located behind the ear. The transmitter sends the sounds into the body to be caught and interpreted by the receiver device that is implanted opposite of the skin barrier to the transmitter in most cases. Finally, the sound is directed into an electrode bundle that is linked to nerves which can interface directly with the brain to make the person “hear” synthetic sounds. This transformative process requires an implantation surgery, but it is beginning to gain interest as techniques and technology continues to improve.