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The purpose of implantable hearing aids and cochlear implants is not to make a person hear normal again. Rather, they have revolutionized ways to stimulate and/or better amplify sound. Because each recipient has a different degree and type of hearing loss, all implants work differently for every person. Implant recipients are those who for a variety of reasons do not benefit from or cannot wear hearing aids.
Children aged 12 months and older who suffer from severe or profound sensor neural hearing loss (in both ears) may benefit from cochlear implants. However, a recent report stated that children who receive cochlear implants are at a higher risk of developing bacterial meningitis. As a result, it is wise to discuss with a licensed medical professional to assess the current risk and investigate possibilities of meningitis inoculation.
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin (see figure). An implant has the following parts:
An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech.