To someone who is deaf or experiences profound hearing loss, a cochlear implant is life-changing. The implant itself is a small, surgically inserted electronic device that can help one partially regain his or her sense of hearing.
Cochlear implants work by stimulating the auditory nerve. The implant generates signals that travel to the brain through the auditory nerve. The brain recognizes these signals as sound. While the implant does not ensure perfect hearing, it does allow many people to experience, or re-experience, the joy of sound.
Children and adults who are deaf or suffer from severe hearing loss can be considered to receive a cochlear implant. Patients must undergo both the surgical implantation as well as significant therapy with a speech-language pathologist after the procedure to learn, or relearn, how to interpret sounds and communicate using the sense of hearing.
Thanks to today's ever-evolving development of technology, researchers are improving how cochlear implants function. Science is getting close to creating an implant to specifically help individuals who experience high-frequency hearing loss, as well as developing an implant that will translate sounds more clearly.
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