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Cochlear Implant and Associated Technologies for · PDF fileWhat is a cochlear implant? Cochlear implants are tiny, intricate electronic devices that help provide a sense of sound

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  • Cochlear Implant and Associated Technologies

    for Hearing

    Mada Assistive Technology Center

    Tel: 00 974 44594050

    Fax: 00 974 44594051

    Email: [email protected]

    mailto:[email protected]

  • What is a cochlear implant?

    Cochlear implants are tiny, intricate electronic devices that help provide a sense of sound to severely deaf

    individuals. Surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear, this device is made of four basic parts:

    The microphone picks up sound from the environment. The speech processor translates the sounds picked up by

    the microphone into signals. The transmitter and receiver/stimulator receive these signals and

    convert them into electric impulses. The electrodes send these impulses to the brain.

    Cochlear implants (CIs) do not restore hearing to normal. They provide electronic sound. They do

    not amplify sound like hearing aids do: instead a cochlear implant compensates for damaged or non-working

    parts of the inner ear. They can help in understanding speech and understanding environmental sounds.

    How successful is a cochlear implant?

    How successful the cochlear implant is depends on many factors

    The age of the patient when he or she receives the implant

    Whether the hearing loss was present before or after the patient developed language skills

    The motivation of the patient and his or her family.

    It is now appropriate for children to receive implants at a very young age. Providing young children with access

    to sound during early critical periods has a profound impact on acquisition of spoken language. Current research

    further substantiates that children who receive implant(s) at an early age can demonstrate impressive growth in

    spoken language and literacy achievement comparable to the levels of their peers with typical hearing.

    Adults who have lost all or most of their hearing later in life often can benefit from cochlear implants. They learn

    to associate the signal provided by an implant with sounds they remember. However both adults and children

    will need to make a commitment to training and practice in order to gain the most from their cochlear implants.

    They will work together with audiologists, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and counselors as they learn

    to listen, improve speech, use speech reading, and handle communication. They are taught how to use the

    implant and how to respond to the sounds they are receiving. For those who have heard before, sounds through

    the cochlear implant may seem unnatural at first and those who have not heard before must be taught what the

    sounds are.

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  • Using Cochlear Implants with Assistive Listening Systems (devices) ALSs ALDs

    Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs) are sometimes called Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs). Essentially they are

    amplifiers that bring sound directly into the ear. They separate the sounds, particularly speech, that a person

    wants to hear from background noise. They improve what is known as the speech to noise ratio. ALDs are

    sometimes described as binoculars for the ears because they stretch hearing aids and cochlear implants,

    thus extending their reach and increasing their effectiveness.

    ALSs utilize FM, infrared or inductive loop technologies. All three technologies are considered good. Each one

    has advantages and disadvantages. (Please see factsheet on Hearing Impairment for more details regarding

    these technologies)

    Using the Cochlear Implant with Assistive Listening Systems

    Cochlear implant users may use a patch cord to connect an ALS receiver directly to their speech processor.

    Some speech processors are body pack sized. Others are ear level and miniaturized to the size of a behind-

    the-ear hearing aid. Consumers with ear level speech processors can utilize neck loops for listening in the same

    way as hearing aid users.

    It is advisable that people wearing cochlear implants should familiarize themselves with Patch cords. Patch

    cords are short wires with a plug at each end, enabling a connection between a cochlear implant speech

    processor and the jack of the equipment the cochlear implant user is listening to. One patch cord manufacturer

    advises connecting the short end to the speech processor. Some cords have a mini plug (2.5 mm instead of 3.5

    mm) for connecting to devices requiring the smaller plug. Consumers report varied experience with the quality

    and effectiveness of patch cords. When using the patch cord, the microphone is automatically blocked, and

    sound is entering the cochlear implant only via the patch cord connected to the ALD. Different styles of

    microphones that work with the ALDs, such as conference microphones, can also be used with CIs

    Electrical requirements of devices vary, as do patch cord

    features. Therefore, consumers need to be aware that one

    cord may not work with everything. It is frustrating, for

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  • example, to want to patch into a cell phone without knowing whether the cord will work and to be unable to

    receive advice on this specialized issue from the local retail sales person. However, some vendors sell patch

    cords that work with the phones they sell. Patch cord manufacturers should be able to provide information on

    compatibility, as can ALS manufacturers and cochlear implant manufacturers. It is a good idea to talk to the

    audiologist that installed the cochlear processor before purchasing a patch cord as there is a risk of damage to

    the processor if you do not have the right patch cord.

    Phone and mobile phone use

    People with cochlear implants can and do use mobile phones successfully. Those who can understand speech

    without visual cues tend to have greater success. Cell phones rated M3 or M4 (M stands for microphone) are

    likely to generate less interference for someone using a cochlear implant. M4 is the better of the two ratings.

    Some use a telecoil (see definition below) feature to hear a clearer sound. If it is planned to use the telephone

    with telecoil make sure the phone is Telecoil compatible. Most telephones and cell phones come with telecoil

    compatibility. Phones that present ratings of T3 or T4 mean that they meet or surpass the compatibility

    standard. Each brand of cochlear implants sets the telecoil differently, instructions on setting the telecoil with

    different sound processors can be found on the following website:

    http://cochlearimplantonline.com/site/?p=3612 the best advice for a cochlear implant user is to test a new

    phone out before purchasing as all phones vary on how well they work with the implant.

    Further Information:

    For those requiring further, more specialist advice on using a Cochlear Implant, first consult with a suitabl

    qualified Speech and Language Pathologist or Audiologist. More detailed assessment of using phones or mobil

    phones with Cochlear Implants or other Assistive Listening Devices can be obtained from the MADA Qata

    Assistive Technology Center

    Further information is also available from the following sources:

    http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/coch.aspx

    http://www.cochlear.com/

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/cochlear.html

    y

    e

    r

    Cochlear Implants and Associated Technologies for Hearing

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    http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/coch.aspxhttp://www.cochlear.com/http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/cochlear.html

  • For further information contact the MADA Qatar Assistive Technology Center, 7th Floor, Al Nasr Tower B, Al

    Corniche Road, West Bay, Doha, Qatar. P.O. Box 24230. Ph: +974 44594050

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    We request attribution to Mada and all other authors of original materials is retained

    Cochlear Implants and Associated Technologies for Hearing

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    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    We request attribution to Mada and all other authors of original materials is retained

    July 2013

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

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