What is a Cochlear Implant?

I just realized that I’ve posted all these posts without explaining exactly what a cochlear implant is. Basically, a string of electrodes are surgerically-implanted through the mastoid bone (I believe) and into the cochlea, which is that snail looking thing in your ear. There is a wire that leads up to the receiver and stimulator. Included in that receiver/stimulator is a magnet. This part lays on top of a section of your skull that has been flattened to make room for it.

Illustration of a cochlear implant in an ear.

All of the parts of the cochlear implant in this photo are gray – except the speech processor – that’s biegn. This is a photo off of Wikipedia. Click on photo for link.

Then on the outside of the head (the non-surgerical part) is the transmitter which is attached very much like a kitchen magnet would to the receiver and stimulator (these two pieces are in fact magnets). Then a wire is attached to the speech processor, the part that looks very much like a hearing aid.

This is not a hearing aid in the fact that a hearing aid just amplifies sound. A cochlear implant in effect replaces the hairs that are missing and stimulates my cochlea the way the hairs inside the cochlea should.

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