Cochlear Implant Essay

Submitted By Aidan-O'Connor
Words: 860
Pages: 4

Bionic ear

A bionic ear is also known as a cochlear implant. It was made in Australia. It helps people that can’t hear very well to hear, it also helps deaf people to hear. The bad thing though is it costs a lot of money. The bionic ear replaces the natural cochlea. It is surgically implanted in the ear and is attached on the head. They are not only for adults but also some children have them as well. There are over 150,000 users of the bionic ear in about 100 countries. A bionic ear is not the same as a hearing aide. 90 precent of people go on to live a normal life after receiving the cochlear implant (Hilly 2013). Some of the implants are irreversible. But almost all of the rest have been successful, the first person to get an implant was Rod Saunders, and it was successful.

How it works
Sound is received by a microphone and is passed though the bionic ear (which is replacing the cochlear) and then onto the brain. But first the bionic ear must determine how the electrodes should be processed and activated. It is the electrode array that does this; it is made from a rubbery substance. A filter bank then divides the signal into different frequency bands. Then the transmitter transmits sound over a radio frequency. A radio frequency is used so that no physical connection is needed in the ear. This reduces a lot of pain in the ear, and the chance of infection. The speech processors are the components of the cochlea implant. There are currently 2 types of speech processors, and the most commonly used is the behind the ear (BTE). This is a small processor worn behind the ear; this type is used by adults and older children/teens. The other is called the baby behind the ear (BBTE). This is worn by babies and young children. There are 2 parts of the bionic ear, one is under the skin and can’t be seen, and is used to control the flow of electricity into the ear. The other is worn on the head and can be seen. This has the microphone to pick up the sound; it also has the speech processor.

Who created it?
The bionic ear was invented by Australian Professor Graeme Clark in the year 1978. He had help from a Melbourne team from Melbourne University. Professor Graeme Clark was born in the year 1935 and graduated from Sydney University in 1947. Dr Clark was inspired to make the bionic ear by his deaf father. He started conducting experiments in his garden shed at the age of 9. One day he was at the beach with his family and he picked up a shell and stuck a piece of grass in it and that helped him to make the prototype 31 years later. The other people on the team were Joe Tong, Bruce Millar, Jim Patrick, and Ian Forster.

Its limitations
The limits of the cochlea implant are that they can help partly deaf but not completely deaf people there is currently no way for them to hear at all. The question that everyone is asked is “can you hear me”, this is asked to make sure that the bionic ear installed properly (there are a few that haven’t been installed properly).…