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A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. The implant is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. An implant has four basic parts:
- 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;
- And electrodes, which collect the impulses from the stimulator and send them to the brain.
An implant does not restore or create normal hearing. Instead, under the appropriate conditions, it can give a deaf person a useful auditory understanding of the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
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