Cochlear Implant

Unlike hearing aids, which simply amplify sound at the outer ear, a cochlear implant system bypasses the parts of your ear that no longer work properly, delivering sound in the form of electrical signals via the hearing nerve to the brain.

Sound can be categorised into two types:

  • low frequency - providing the foundation and structure of sound like vowel sounds and the melody of speech – these are important for voice recognition and detecting emotion
  • high frequency – providing the additional vital details of sound, helping you identify and differentiate words and improving quality and clarity – these are important for speech understanding, particularly in noisy situations.

Most people with hearing loss begin to lose high frequencies first, and may still have the ability to hear low frequency sounds.

Cochlear’s range of implants is carefully designed to preserve as much as possible of any hearing you may have left. If you do have any residual hearing, this can be maximised by adding on the acoustic component of our Nucleus 6 System. This gives you the benefit of boosting your remaining hearing and combining it with your newly augmented hearing.

How hearing works

  1. Sound waves enter the ear and travel along the ear canal to the ear drum.
  2. Movement of the eardrum makes tiny bones in the middle part of the ear vibrate.
  3. These vibrations are transmitted to a fluid filled part of the inner ear, known as the cochlea.
  4. Tiny hairs lining the cochlea pick up this movement and send electrical signals to the brain, where they’re interpreted as sound.
How hearing works

Hearing with a cochlear implant

  1. Microphones on the sound processor pick up sounds and the processor converts them into digital information.
  2. This information is transferred through the coil to the implant just under the skin.
  3. The implant sends electrical signals down the electrode into the cochlea.
  4. The hearing nerve fibres in the cochlea pick up the signals and send them to the brain, giving the sensation of sound.
Hearing with a cochlear implant

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