Cochlear implants are prosthetic devices that provide hearing for persons with severe to profound hearing loss who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. Tiny wires (electrodes) are surgically inserted into the cochlea (an organ of hearing). The cochlear implant converts sound energy into electrical signals and stimulates the auditory nerve.
A cochlear implant goes on both the outside and inside of your head. These parts work together to help you notice sounds.
External, or outside, parts: You will wear a device that looks like a hearing aid behind your ear. It has a microphone that picks up sounds and sends them to a speech processor. The speech processor turns the sounds into a digital signal.
The speech processor sends the signal to a transmitter. This device goes on your head, behind your ear. The transmitter sends the signal to a receiver under your skin. A magnet holds the two together.
Internal, or inside, parts: The receiver is under the skin behind your ear. It sends the signals to electrodes in your inner ear, or cochlea. The electrodes trigger the auditory nerve. This lets your brain notice the incoming sounds.
Cochlear implants will not work for everyone. They may work for adults who:
Children can also get cochlear implants. They may work best for children who:
If your child is old enough, it is helpful if he/she can:
It is important that your child has your support. This will help him have success with the cochlear implants.
The NRT provides a simple way to directly record neural responses. Information from NRT gives the audiologist or surgeon confirmation that the cochlear implant is effectively stimulating the hearing nerve fibres in the inner ear and all conveniently measured within minutes. This is non-invasive, objective, and quicker and does not require sedation or the use of external recording electrodes. NRT can be performed during the cochlear implant surgery and at the follow-up appointments any time after surgery.
Three weeks after the surgery, the audiologist will give your child the external device (speech processor and coil). It is the first mapping of the processor.
NRT - Neural Response Telemetry Mapping is the term for programming a cochlear implant to the specifications and needs of its user. MAPs are programs that help to optimize the cochlear implant user’s access to sound by adjusting the input to the electrodes on the array that is implanted into the cochlea. While each cochlear implant company has different terminology, different programming strategies, and different capacities for various MAPs on their processors, the basic ideas behind MAPping hold true for all three FDA-approved brands.
It is not possible for parents and teachers to listen to a child’s cochlear implant as one would listen to a hearing aid; however, there are other checks of the equipment that should be completed by an audiologist.
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