A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is implanted surgically in patients with severe hearing loss or those who are profoundly deaf. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant delivers electrical stimulation directly to the auditory nerve. The brain interprets these signals as sound, and enables a patient to recognize speech.
How It Works
Cochlear implants consist of four separate components. Externally, there is a microphone to pick up sounds; a speech processor to convert those sounds to digital signals; and a transmitter to send the coded audio signals to the receiver, located internally behind the ear. The receiver relays those signals to the brain via the auditory nerve. Those with strongly developed language and communication skills, who lost their hearing later in life, and younger patients still in their formative learning years, benefit most from cochlear implants.
Cochlear implants are custom programmed for each patient, depending upon their auditory response to electrical stimuli. Known as “mapping,” this procedure establishes different threshold (T) and comfort (C or M) levels so electrode settings can be adjusted to optimize sound quality.
Regular mapping sessions are important to ensure your cochlear implants are always tuned to your specific needs. Over time, your threshold levels evolve, due to adaptation (becoming accustomed to a signal so that it no longer sounds loud enough), and the growth of tissue in and around the implanted device. Obtaining new measurements often will allow your East Texas audiologist to keep your cochlear implants set to the right levels.
We work exclusively with Cochlear® Corporation products.