Cochlear implant is a medical device which is used as a replacement for your damaged inner ear and its functionality is different from that of hearing aids as we know it. The device is surgically planted to provide sound signals to the brain after bypassing the damaged hair cells of the inner ear or cochlea.
The device was invented by an Australian Doctor named Greame Clark after getting motivated to find a cure for this hearing impaired father. In 2009 more than 1,25,000 people around the globe received this cochlear implant. The patient count rose to 3,24,200 in and around December, 2012 and has been ever rising since then.
The cochlear implant itself comprised of a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver or stimulator and finally an array of electrodes. The device is not meant to restore hearing. The device provides a representation of sound as it occurs in natural environment and allows the patient to understand speech.
The microphone as we know it is meant to pick up environmental sound for the cochlear implant. Then it goes to the speech processor part of the cochlear implant, where the sound is arranged. The transmitter and receiver module of the cochlear implant after receiving inputs from the speech processor converts them into a series of electrical impulses.
The last component of the cochlear implant - electrode array accepts the electrical impulses from the transmitter and receiver module and sends them to different auditory nerves. A model of cochlear implant called Nucleus 5, provides this stimulation at several sites. This is highly recommended by today’s medical professionals.
It has been seen that young kids who were severely deaf or hard of hearing when received these implants at the prime time of new language learning has improved their language and speech issues compared to their peers who didn’t receive this implant. Scientific studies have shown that young cochlear implant recipients have been able to cope up in normal classroom environment with other normal hearing kids.
The process can be expensive and a person’s health insurance may or may not cover such expense. Although this operation is almost risk free but still, there is a bit of risk for any surgical procedure. Speech language pathologists and audiologists mostly available in leading hearing aid clinics in India will help you with the learning process. Several good centers for hearing aid in Kolkata have opened up in recent years.