The cochlea is the ‘organ of hearing’, the part of the inner ear which converts vibrations of sound into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is implanted surgically within the inner ear to help those with certain types of deafness. They cannot cure deafness, but do help some hearing-impaired people distinguish the sounds of language clearly enough to participate in a verbal environment. For children who are born deaf, a cochlear implant can greatly increase their ability to participate in school and other environments. Whereas hearing aids amplify (increase) sound, cochlear implants try to make up for damaged or non-working parts of the inner ear. The implant electronically finds useful sounds, processes them and then sends them to the brain.
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