A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.
The cochlear implant technology can help people who:
have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears
receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted
score 60% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids.
Many people have cochlear devices in both ears (bilateral). Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don’t.