How Cochlear Implants Work: A Video Overview


(giggling) – Hearing works be having tiny vibrations of the ear drum transfer into the cochlea. Those vibrations then move
these tiny little hair cells, which then transfer the vibrational energy into electrical impulses which
then stimulate the nerves of hearing that go to the brain. There’s a nerve that goes
from the hearing organ, the cochlea to the brain stem and on the hearing
organ side, the cochlea, there are these little projections,
we call ’em hair cells. When someone has hearing loss these little hair cells
get sick and kind of die, but the nerve itself is
still completely functional it just can’t receive the signal. A cochlear implant is a device that we can use to restore hearing. It’s got two parts. One part is implanted into the inner ear and then an outer part which communicates with the inner part takes sound and transfers
it into electrical impulses. It allows us to bypass
the damaged inner ear and stimulate the nerve
to recreate hearing. – So cochlear implant
in effect is just a way to directly stimulate the cochlear nerve. So you’re bypassing these hair cells and this special sensory
organ of the cochlea and directly stimulating the nerve. – So by putting enough
electrodes into the cochlea we can recreate different pitches, because each pitch in the cochlea is coded by a different location. – And you’ve given them back something that they’ve been deeply missing. I mean for years, every day,
every minute of every day, they know they’re missing it. It’s just wonderful to
see people in post op who are hearing again and you walk in the room and their face lights up with a smile. It’s hard not to love what you do. (light music)

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