In a typical ear, sound makes the eardrum and middle ear bones vibrate. Those vibrations are then converted into electrical signals by the cochlea and sent to the brain, which recognizes them as sound. Cochlear implants have parts located on both the inside and outside of your child’s ear to send sound signals to their brain and mimic this process.
Cochlear implants consist of four main parts:
- A microphone to pick up sounds in the environment
- A speech processor to arrange those sounds into signals
- A transmitter that takes signals and converts them to electronic impulses
- An electrode array that takes the impulses and sends them to different parts of the auditory nerve
The speech processor is attached externally and resembles a traditional, behind-the-ear hearing aid. It contains a microphone and computer that recognize sound and converts it into electrical signals.
The electrical signals are routed to the transmitter, which is about one-inch around and attached to the side of your child’s head with a strong magnet. The transmitter then sends the signals through your child’s skin to a receiver and on to the electrode array inside your child’s inner ear. This stimulates the auditory nerve and allows your child to recognize sound.