How Implants Work

A cochlear implant is uniquely different from a hearing aid. A hearing aid works by amplifying sounds, making them louder. Traditionally, hearing aids are adequate for patients with mild to moderately-severe sensorineural hearing losses as well as patients with inoperable forms of conductive hearing loss.

In contrast, a cochlear implant is for patients who have levels of hearing loss in the severe to profound range or those who can no longer benefit from traditional amplification/hearing aids. The cochlear implant is classified by medical terminology as a "neural prosthetic device" similar to a pacemaker or heart defibrillator.

The cochlear implant consists of two distinct pieces; one is an internal receiver/stimulator (surgically implanted) and the second is the external speech processor, which is worn on the outer ear (pinna) and looks similar in appearance to a behind-the-ear hearing aid. Surgery is required to place the internal device.  The external components are typically fit several weeks after surgery.

The function of the cochlear implant as well as the surgical process will be fully addressed with each patient at the initial clinical cochlear implant evaluation. Both the audiologist and the implant surgeon are knowledgeable in the process and are happy to address additional questions you may have regarding this medical procedure.

In the video below, 11 year old Micah talks about his experience when he received his second cochlear implant.