A male doctor is checking an elderly woman's ear to see if she needs a cochlear implant.

Improvements to the cochlear implant brings new hope to those with hearing loss.

Those who deal with hearing damage suffer from a series of issues. These issues include hearing loss, difficulties understanding others, poor speech, and other communication problems. A cochlear implant is a tools used to combat this type of hearing loss. Every year, scientists research the effectiveness of this surgical implant.

Their research helps them discover new ways to make the device work better. One study found that the level of hearing damage a person has suffered does not determine how well a cochlear implant works. Another study discovered that the benefits were significant.

Why Is the Cochlear Implant Effective?

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is surgically inserted into person’s ear. Using a microphone, the device converts external noise to digital signals. These signals are sent to the auditory nerve and processed by the brain as sound.

The cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. The aid amplifies sound for damaged ears, while the implant works around the damage and directly stimulates the auditory nerve.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute tested individuals with significant, little, and no residual hearing prior to their cochlear implant surgery. What they found is that those who had the worse hearing damage experienced substantial improvements in hearing. They were able to interpret speech in loud spaces and speech patterns better.

Another study discovered that adults over the age of 65, with profound hearing loss, greatly benefited from cochlear implants. After surgery, their speech perception and cognitive function improved drastically. The brain’s cognitive function is its ability to reason, recall, pay attention, and understand language. The better you can hear, the more this function works.

Scientists believe that cochlear implants work well. Both its ability to send electrical signal directly to the auditory nerve, and the brain’s ability to properly interpret these signals improves hearing. This spells good news for those with significant hearing loss. It helps them to communicate better others around them.