Cochlear implants

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There are about 10,000 people in the UK with cochlear implants The Ear Foundation(external link, opens new window) and the number is growing every year.

Cochlear implants can improve people's ability to hear and understand speech if they can't benefit from a hearing aid. Cochlear implants enable children who are deaf to learn language, speak intelligibly and perform better at school. Adults are able to communicate more confidently, regain their independence, and stand a better chance of getting a worthwhile job.

A cochlear implant consists of:

  • An internal part: a receiver which is surgically implanted in the mastoid bone behind the ear, with electrodes inserted into the cochlea, part of the inner ear.
  • An external part: a microphone and speech processor which convert sound into an electrical signal that is sent to the electrodes in the inner ear. These then stimulate the auditory nerve sending a signal to the brain, where it is perceived as sound.
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What is a cochlear implant?

Instead of making sound louder like a hearing aid, cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve using electrical signals.
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How does a cochlear implant work?

Sound is picked up by the microphone in the cochlear implant and processed into electrical signals that are passed to the transmitter coil.
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Sound through a cochlear implant

We have been funding research into cochlear implants to investigate ways of improve cochlear implant technology.
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Research breakthrough. Human stem cells restore hearing.

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