A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Cochlear implants are often referred to as a bionic ear.
Cochlear implants may help provide hearing in patients that are deaf due to damage to sensory hair cells in their cochlea. In those patients, they can often enable sufficient hearing to allow better understanding of speech. The quality of sound is different from natural hearing, with less sound information being received and processed by the brain. However, many patients are able to hear and understand speech and environmental sounds. Newer devices and processing strategies allow recipients to hear better in noise, enjoy music, and even use their implant processors while swimming.
As of December 2010, approximately 219,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants; in the U.S., roughly 42,600 adults and 28,400 children are recipients. The vast majority are in developed countries due to the high cost of the device, surgery and post-implantation therapy. A small but growing segment of recipients have bilateral implants (one implant in each cochlea).
Read more about Cochlear Implant: History, Parts of The Cochlear Implant, Candidates, The Operation, Post-implantation Therapy and Ongoing Effects, Cost, Efficacy, Risks and Disadvantages, Functionality, Scientific and Technical Advances, Manufacturers, Controversy in The Culture
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“For good nurture and education implant good constitutions.”
—Plato (c. 427347 B.C.)