Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cochlear Implant 101

Just thought I would talk about the components of the CI (cochlear implant) and how it works.

After I ran into two people who thought that once I had the internal implant in, I was going to automatically start hearing "normally." It's not like a pair of prescription glasses-presto-your vision is corrected. The internal implant alone does not work by itself. It needs the external components of the CI, too-the processor and the magnet in order to work. And I still needed to be activated and get a map at the time. (A map is a personal, individualized programming of the CI. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two are the same, even for bilateral implantees. Everyone has their own comfort level of what they can hear and it is adjusted to fit that threshold.)

I copied this from the Cochlear Freedom literature I got from the audiologist.

Each caption in the above graphic talks about the implant: MRI safe, up to 1.5 Tesla with the magnet removed, built with titanium and platium (tested by the US Military), has 22 electrodes, and a soft tip to minimize force during surgery thus it could preserve residual hearing.

The picture below gives you an idea of the internal implant's size.

Internal implant

The picture below is what the Advanced Bionics processor looks like:

This is the Advanced Bionics internal implant:

This is what the magnet, coil, and processor look like. (This is the Cochlear Freedom, the one I have.) The second picture gives you an idea of what it looks like when someone is wearing it.

Cochlear Freedom (external components on the ear)

In the above picture, numbers 1 and 2 are described:
1) BTE (behind the ear) speech processor

2) cable and coil

Cochlear Freedom

1) Sound Processor - external component that converts sounds into digital signals
2) Digital signals are sent to the internal implant
3) Electrode array - internal implant converts digital signals into electrical energy, sending it to an elctrode array inside the cochlea
4) Hearing nerve - Electrodes stimulate hearing nerve, bypassing damaged hair cells, and the brain perceives signals as sound.

(You can click the above link "Cochlear Freedom" for a diagram of how normal hearing works.)
Other links that describe "How a CI Works":

Advanced Bionics, LLC-How a CI Works

How a CI Works

(I borrowed the two links above from fellow blogger, with permission. She saved me some research. Winks.)

Here is a good link that describes all three brands of cochlear implants (Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and Med El).

Hope this helps. :)


(Some pictures above are copied from Google Images and if you click on the pictures, you will find the source of the graphic.)



At Tue Nov 04, 08:51:00 PM , Blogger Amrita said...

Lokks really good. Wish i could have it too.They have them here

At Wed Nov 05, 09:55:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post, Shari! I keep forgetting that not everyone knows how a CI works, what it looks like, etc. :)



At Wed Nov 05, 02:45:00 PM , Blogger Becky said...

What an incredible device...do doubt stemming from many, many years of research.

Great explanation, Shari!

At Wed Nov 05, 06:10:00 PM , Blogger ABOUT ME said...

hello thanks you for checking out my blog on sudden deafness. I cant email you that is why im here. I am going to put u in my blogspot email me here deafinitelyasl11@aol.com i would love to chat with you.

At Wed Nov 05, 06:42:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
Does the internal CI get the digital signals from the external processor thru the magnet? Or do they go thru wires that go thru your skin?
Is the external processor NOT the same thing as a regular hearing aid, then? That is, if you put it on your other ear, would it be quite useless?

At Wed Nov 05, 07:43:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Amrita-Have you ever been evaluated for a CI in your area? Sometimes a hearing aid still is useful and a CI is not recommended. All you have to do is find out if you are a candidate. I have thought about a CI off and on the past 10 years, but never really thought I’d qualify.

Wendi-There have been many other posts like this from other bloggers. I thought that I’d try explaining it here, too. Thanks, though. We do “forget” that others have no clue what a CI is and how it works.

Becky-Thanks. It is an amazing device. God guided the creators of the CI. All I need now are bionic eyes…lol

About me-I sent you an email. Thanks for trying to contact me here and stopping by.

Anne-Yes, the internal components does get digital signals from the sound processor (which is similar to the HA) and it does transmit thru the magnet. The sound processor would not work without a magnet and internal components. So, if I were to put it on my other ear, the unimplanted side, it would not work. Thanks for your interest. I hope this helps.

At Thu Nov 06, 12:46:00 PM , Blogger Breazy said...

Hey Shari, thanks for the informative post.

Hope you all are doing good!

At Thu Nov 06, 10:29:00 PM , Anonymous Kila said...

Very interesting, thanks! I've learned so much from you :)


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