The Cochlear Implant

The Cochlear Implant

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The Cochlear Implant


     The cochlear implant is possibly one of the greatest
inventions designed to benefit the deaf community. A
cochlear implant is a device implanted internally behind a
deaf persons ear with an external microphone, and is
designed to provide artificial sounds to people who have
nerve deafness in both ears and show no ability to
understand speech through hearing aids. Since the
development of the cochlear implant in the 1960’s, more
than 10,000 people worldwide have been implanted with this
device.

     Although this may seem like the perfect device to aid
deafness, a lot of controversy still exists about the cochlear
implant. There are many advantages and disadvantages
about the implant. I will start by discussing the advantages.
     
The cochlear implant has allowed many deaf people to live
out ‘hearing lives’. During the 1960’s, more primitive
implants allowed for partial hearing, the percentage of words
that could be understood without lip reading was about 12%,
But with modern technology, that number has risen to about
80%,
making conversations with a deaf person and a hearing
person possible through speech without the use of sign
language. Deaf people who have experienced hearing and
language skills previously, benefit much more from the
implant because they do not have to learn new sounds or
words.

     Although the cochlear implant can benefit deaf people
greatly, there are still many disadvantages. Of the 15 million
people in the U.S. with significant hearing loss. Less than 1%
are potential candidates the the cochlear implant. There is no
standardized criteria for accepting or rejecting a candidate,
but they often need to meet audiological, medical, and
psychological criteria. As with all surgeries, there is some
degree of risk, but because of the anatomical location being
so close to the brain, these risks are much greater. Even
though the cochlear implant may be suitable for more deaf

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people, there is one factor that prohibits them from recieving
one: Price. Each cochlear implant costs over $25,000 and
comes with no guarantees.

     In conclusion, the cochlear implant has given many deaf
people the priceless gift of hearing, but this may not be for
everyone. Some deaf people may not be ready for this
implant because it will change their life drastically, they may
not be ready to go from the deaf world to the hearing world.
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