Neuroscience

Improving the precision of bionic devices with light

For a person with normal hearing, sound waves travel in the fluid-filled cochlea of the inner ear, causing sensory hair cells to react and send signals to the brain via the auditory neurons. For those with hearing loss, these ...

Health

Cochlear implants should be recommended for adults more often

An international group of hearing specialists has released a new set of recommendations emphasizing that cochlear implants should be offered to adults who have moderate to severe or worse hearing loss much more often than ...

Neuroscience

Using light instead of electricity in cochlear implants

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in Germany has developed a cochlear implant that converts sound waves to light signals instead of electrical signals. In their paper published in the journal Science ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Face masks making things tough for the deaf

(HealthDay)—As the debate over face masks continues, few may realize how the coverings make it hard for the 48 million Americans with hearing loss to communicate with others.

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Cochlear implant

A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. The cochlear implant is often referred to as a bionic ear. Unlike hearing aids, the cochlear implant does not amplify sound, but works by directly stimulating any functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with an electric field. External components of the cochlear implant include a microphone, speech processor and an RF transducer or primary headpiece coil. A secondary coil is implanted beneath the skull's skin and inductively coupled to the primary headpiece coil. The headpiece coil has a magnet by which it attaches to another magnet placed on the secondary coil often beside the cochlear implant. The implant relays the incoming signal to the implanted electrodes in the cochlea. The speech processor allows an individual to adjust the sensitivity of the device. The implant gives recipients additional auditory information, which may include sound discrimination fine enough to understand speech in quiet environments. Post-implantation rehabilitative therapy is often critical to ensuring successful outcomes.

As of 2006, approximately 100,000 people worldwide had received cochlear implants, with recipients split almost evenly between children and adults. The vast majority are in developed countries due to the high cost of the device, surgery and post-implantation therapy. A small but growing segment of recipients have bilateral implants (one implant in each cochlea).

There is disagreement whether providing cochlear implants to children is ethically justifiable, renewing a century-old debate about models of deafness that often pits hearing parents of deaf children against the Deaf community.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA