The purpose of implantable hearing aids and cochlear implants is not to make a person hear normal again. Rather, they have revolutionized ways to stimulate and/or better amplify sound.
Because each recipient has a different degree and type of hearing loss, all implants work differently for every person. Implant recipients are those who for a variety of reasons do not benefit from or cannot wear hearing aids.
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted into a person's inner ear. External components are either body-worn or behind the ear. The external component sends signals to the implant through the skin, which are then recognized as sound by the brain instantaneously. The process sends sound in the ear through nerve stimulation by avoiding damaged cells and by using an electrical signal. Cochlear implant recipients must have severe or profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears to receive cochlear implants.
Children aged 12 months and older who suffer from severe or profound sensorineural hearing loss (in both ears) may benefit from cochlear implants. However, a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that children who receive cochlear implants are at a higher risk of developing bacterial meningitis. As a result, it is wise to discuss with a licensed medical professional to assess the current risk and investigate possibilities of meningitis inoculation.