What is a Cochlear Implant and how does it work?


     Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. (1997). Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program [Brochure]. Pittsburgh, PA.

      Watkins, S. & Clark, T. C. (1993) The SKI*HI Model: A Resource Manual for Family-Centered, Home-Based Programming for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool-Aged Children with Hearing Impairment. Hyrum, UT: Downs Printing.

Synthesis of Information:

(What it is)

A cochlear implant is an auditory device which is meant to provide the profoundly hearing impaired person with the "sensation of sound." (Watkins, 1993, p247)

(What It does)

"The cochlear implant consists of a set of implanted parts and a set of parts worn externally on the body. The implanted parts are surgically placed under the skin behind the child’s ear and in the inner ear. Sound enters the system through a tiny microphone behind the child’s ear. From the microphone, sounds are sent to a speech processor through a thin, connecting cord. The speech processor selects and codes the most important features of sound for understanding of speech. The implant’s electrodes are stimulated and activate the auditory nerve in the inner ear. The sensation of sound is created and sent to the brain for interpretation."(Brochure: "Pediatric Cochlear…)


I have seen a handful of children who have cochlear implants. Children as young as 2 can be implanted. Some of the children I have worked with had no problems with the surgery and proceeded to do very well verbally after the implant. Other children have a little more trouble with recovery or benefiting from the device. There are no guarantees.

For More Information:

      (No date). Cochlear Implant & Hearing Research in Melbourne, Australia. [Online] Available: rubens.unimelb.edu/au/~oto/hist/hist-ci.htm [1998, June 23].

Contact Information:

Dawn Powell
Cochlear Implants
617 Walnut Street
Martins Ferry, OH 43935

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