This entry describes what a cochlear implant is, how it works, and who may benefit from it. The chapter then discusses limitations of cochlear implants and solutions to overcome these limitations in the future. Finally, the chapter discusses issues related to cochlear implant simulation, accessibility, and impact on Deaf culture. The cochlear implant is a medical device used to restore functional hearing by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve in the damaged inner ear (the cochlea). It is an invasive device, requiring surgery to drill a hole in the skull behind the ear to access the cochlea and an additional hole in the cochlea to place the implant electrodes.

Since the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of the first commercial device in 1984, more than half ...

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