Cochlear implants are devices that can provide sound for people who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. Hearing aids make sounds louder. However, for children and adults who have severe to profound hearing loss, making sounds louder may not be enough to allow the ear to process sound.
In some cases, a cochlear implant may be more successful than hearing aids because it bypasses the damaged cochlea and directly stimulates the hearing (auditory) nerve. Part of the cochlear implant includes tiny electrodes that are surgically inserted into the cochlea. The cochlear implant converts sound into electrical signals that go to the auditory nerve.
There are several manufacturers of cochlear implants such as Advanced Bionics Corporation, Cochlear Americas, and Med-El. The cochlear implant-regardless of the manufacturer-is comprised of both internal and external components.