Cochlear implants aim to provide useful hearing to those who get little or no benefit from hearing aids. Implants consist of an external speech processor and an internal component.
The visible component of the cochlear implant is called the speech processor. It consists of a microphone, batteries and a mini computer that analyses incoming sounds and converts them into digital signals. These signals are then transmitted through the skin via a coil to the internal implant via radio waves.
The internal implant is designed to bypass damaged parts of the inner ear and send electrical stimulation directly to the auditory nerve – which the brain interprets as sound.
There are three steps involved in cochlear implantation.