What is a cochlear implant? What does it sound like?

A cochlear implant is a implant is a device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the auditory (hearing) nerve in the inner ear. People with a sensorineural hearing loss (a hearing loss that results from damage to the inner hair cells of the cochlea, a structure of the inner ear) were previously thought to never regain their hearing. The cochlear implant has made hearing possible for this specific group of hearing impaired individuals. The device allows the brain to bypass the damaged part of the inner ear and stimulate the auditory nerve directly, making it possible for those with a severe to profound hearing loss to hear!

But what does it sound like when you hear something through a cochlear implant? Many people think that people using the cochlear implant hear like a non-hearing impaired individual. They are wrong! Speech and noises do not sound the same. I thought everyone would like to see what it sounds like to hear things through the cochlear implant…here is a great site with a lot of different simulations http://www.hei.org/research/shannon/simulations/

Hope you guys enjoy the simulation as much as I did! Here is another awesome video of a baby having their cochlear implant turned on for the first time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTzTt1VnHRM

–Stephanie

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