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Hearing Devices

Cochlear Implants

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is different from a hearing aid because it bypasses the damaged cochlea and sends electrical sound signals directly to the auditory (hearing) nerve. The external processor, which looks much like a large behind-the-ear hearing aid, captures sound from the environment, processes the sound into digital information, and then sends this data to the electrode array inside the cochlea.

The internal cochlear implant array is surgically placed during an outpatient visit to the hospital. The fitting of the external processor is performed approximately six weeks after surgery. Several follow-up appointments are needed to adjust the external processor over a period of three to four months. After the initial adjustment period, patients are typically seen on an annual basis.

The cochlear implant is not a cure for hearing loss. The cochlear implant recipient continues to have a severe or profound hearing loss when not wearing the speech processor.  New users need to practice listening in order to achieve maximum performance. Some of the contributing factors that determine success with the implant include length of deafness, speech and language development, medical history, support from family and friends, and patient motivation. 

Our team of experts currently works with three cochlear impant manufacturers. We encourage you to visit their websites.

Advanced Bionics

Cochlear Americas



Learn more about the OSU Hearing Professionals' cochlear implant program.