Q:

What is a cochlear implant?

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Quick Answer

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that provides a sense of sound for people experiencing severe hearing loss, explains the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This device features an outside part placed behind the ear and another part that is surgically implanted under the skin.

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Full Answer

A cochlear implant can help children and adults who do not benefit from the use of hearing aids, notes the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Patients who use this device usually have sensorineural hearing loss, meaning there is damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlear. The implant helps bypass these damaged cells to allow sound to reach the auditory nerve. This device does not cure the condition, but only offers a sense of sound.

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