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What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is not a hearing aid. A cochlear implant is an electronic device designed to assist severely to profoundly hearing impaired adults and children who gain little to no benefit from hearing aids. It allows patients to “hear” by direct electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve, which transmits signals from the inner ear to the brain. This “sound” is very different from what we normally hear, but with time, the brain is able to adapt to this and allow patients to understand what is being presented to them.
The physicians, audiologists, speech language pathologists, scientists, educators of the deaf, psychologists and social workers at The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center comprise the Cochlear Implant team. The center enjoys a longstanding reputation of excellence in adult and pediatric cochlear implantation. The devices from all three available manufacturers are surgically implanted and programmed at the implant center and significant experience exists with each manufacturer. As one of the leading implant centers in the world, the implant center at Vanderbilt has participated in a great deal of clinical and basic science research that promotes improved performance in cochlear implant use.
This research includes:
• Bilateral cochlear implantation
• New electrode design and surgical implantation
• Speech perception in noise with bilateral cochlear implantation
• Sound localization with bilateral cochlear implantation
• Distance perception in noise with bilateral cochlear implantation
• Minimally-invasive image-guided cochlear implantation
• Pediatric cochlear implant trials
• Adult cochlear implant trials