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Understanding the Miraculous Cochlear Implant
A cochlear implant (CI) is a small-sized surgically implanted complex electronic device which renders a sense of sound to an individual who is overwhelmingly deaf or extremely hard of hearing in both the ears. Research on cochlear implants market states that, across the world there are more than 250,000 users using cochlear implants and nearly 12,000 in the UK alone. This implant does not completely cure the hearing impairment or deafness; however it is a type of a prosthetic substitute that helps in directly stimulation the cochlea. Ever since 2014, cochlea implants have been used by experimentation in few people who had developed deafness in one ear post learning the ability to speak. These implants are known to circumvent the normal hearing process; they possess a microphone and a few electronics setup which is positioned outside the skin and which channels a signal wave to a wide range of electrodes positioned in the cochlea, that stimulate the cochlear nerve. It is especially designed for adults and children who have sensorineural hearing loss. This condition generally postulates severe damage to the tiny hair cells in a specific part of the inner ear known as the cochlea. These tiny hair cells are accountable to grasp sound vibrations and send them to the brain with the help of the auditory nerve, and when these cells are damaged, sound loses the ability to reach the nerve. Cochlear implants ignore the hair cells that are damaged and instead directly send sound signals to the auditory nerve.
Structure of Cochlear implant:
The implants comprise of an external portion where all the electrodes reside and this is placed behind the ear and another device that is surgically placed under the skin. An implant consists of the below-mentioned parts:
- A microphone that collects sound from the surrounding
- A speech processor that picks and stages the sounds collected by the microphone
- A stimulator/receiver and transmitter that acquires the signals from the speech processor and later alter them into electronic impulses
- A wide assortment of electrodes which gathers the impulses from the stimulator and channels them to other regions of the auditory nerve
This implant does not reinstate normal hearing, instead, to a deaf individual it provides constructive representation of sounds in the surroundings and enables him or her to grasp and understand the speech.
A cochlear implant can be positively life-altering if a person has an extreme hearing issue. However, the end results are not the same for everyone. It is more advantageous to some than others. A few of the benefits of using a cochlear implant for a deaf person are:
- Ability to understand the speech without trying to lip read
- Ability to hear any kind of speech at almost normal levels
- Ability to understand and hear music better
- Simple to converse on the phone and hear the TV
- Can collect soft, medium and loud sounds
- Ability to control self voice so make it more understandable and audible to others
The future for Cochlear Implants
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) backs several researches to improve and better the advantages of cochlear implants. Scientists are digging into knowing whether use of shortened electrode array, positioned into a part of the cochlea, for instance, it might assist individuals who have limited hearing to high frequency at the same time saving the hearing of lower frequencies. In fact, research scientists are looking forward to paring a cochlear implant in one cochlea with hearing aid or cochlear implant in the other ear.
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