How Cochlear Implants Are Different
The cochlear implant is an inner ear implant whereby an electrode is placed in the cochlea in the inner ear. To meet the qualifications for a cochlear implant, hearing loss must be in the severe to profound range in each ear, and speech understanding must be less than 40%. The procedure essentially bypasses the cochlea to directly stimulate the auditory nerve and help the patient hear in an electronic way. The cochlear implant cannot typically be reversed and currently requires the user to wear a sound processor on the outside of their head. The sound processor is held onto their head by a magnet, and must be removed to sleep, shower, swim, etc. There are stringent guidelines around candidacy for the cochlear implant. It can be a lifesaver for the right patient, as they learn to hear in a new way their hearing and understanding can greatly improve.