Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What is a Cochlear Implant?

If you've seen my latest vlog you will have seen that I did a short video about so BIG EXCITING news! Harry finally has a date for his cochlear implant surgery - Tuesday 3rd Feb 2015!  But what even is a cochlear implant...

What is a cochlear implant?!
A cochlear implant is a tiny and very complex electronic device, that can help to provide sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing (Harry is profoundly deaf which means he has no natural hearing) The implant consists of an internal part that is surgically placed under the skin and attaches to an external part via magnets.
The Cochlear Implant is made up of the following componants:
·         A microphone, which picks up sound from the environment.
·         A speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
·         A transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
·         An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.
An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
At present around 10,000 people in the UK are fitted with a cochlear implant and the number is increasing each year.  You see a lot of cochlear implants around where the external part sits behind the ear, much like a hearing aid, however for the first 5 years Harry won’t have the behind the ear part and instead that part will clip onto his clothing.  We mainly chose this option because we felt his ears and head were too small to have that sort of hardware and also because the brand we have gone for is waterproof!
Advanced Bionics Neptune  |  Source

How does a cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant is VERY different from a hearing aid – which simply amplifies sound so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants however bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.
Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and enjoy a conversation in person or by telephone

During the operation the surgeon makes an incision behind the ear being treated in order to gain access into the middle ear and cochlear. The operation lasts between 3 and 4 hours per ear - Harry will be having both done at the same time so a mega long operation
The operation is delicate and intricate rather than dangerous because no vital organs are disturbed. There are no serious attendant risks with the operation beyond those normally associated with major surgery

What does the future hold for someone with a cochlear implant?
With advancements in technology and continued follow-up studies with people who already have received implants, researchers are evaluating how cochlear implants might be used for other types of hearing loss.
Other studies are exploring ways to make a cochlear implant convey the sounds of speech more clearly. Researchers also are looking at the potential benefits of pairing a cochlear implant in one ear with either another cochlear implant or a hearing aid in the other ear

So there you go I hope that answers any questions you may have or improves your understanding of what Harry's going to have done! Here's my latest vlog if you fancy seeing a little snippet of Harry and to hear my thoughts and feelings on him undergoing this massive operation..



  1. It's so amazing what doctors can do nowadays! I'm so thrilled for you :D!

    I've just written a new blog post too, although not quite as exciting as yours!


  2. Awww hope everything goes well for you and your son next month!

  3. Oh this is fantastic news Lucie- I have been following Harry's journey via your blog and you tube and so pleased for you all. xx

  4. Fantastic news. So glad you have a date set now! Harry is a beautiful boy xxx


  5. Hi Lucie, I have just found you on youtube today so I thought I would come and check out your blog too. I am a new subscriber! Your son's story made me cry, I have a little girl and I cannot imagine what you must be going through, it must be heartbreaking. I am looking forward to following Harry's journey and wish you all the best of luck x

  6. Hey lovely, it's amazing what they can do these days! I'm so pleased that you guys had a light at the end of the tunnel! He's absolutely gorgeous. May God continue to bless u x


  7. I am happy for you and for the lovely boy and wish you all the best of luck.


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