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Cochlear ear implant with accessories, United Kingdom, 1999

The only way to regain some hearing for many people who are severely or almost completely deaf is a cochlear implant. This surgically implanted electronic device picks up sound using an external microphone. Cochlear implants electrically stimulate the auditory nerve, bypassing the inner ear. They consist of three parts: the internal component implanted in the ear, the headpiece worn behind the ear, and the external speech processor usually worn attached to a belt. Some people in the deaf community argue cochlear implants ‘normalise’ people with hearing loss. This example was developed by Advanced Bionics UK Limited.

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Glossary: deafness

A condition where the hearing in both ears in not functional to ordinary levels.

Glossary: cochlear implant

A device surgically implanted in the cochlea which translates sound into electrical impulses conveyed to the auditory nerve to facilitate hearing.