Cochlear implant – advanced electronic device, implanted during surgery to people with bilateral hearing loss, or bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The implant helps with rehabilitation of those who have such an illness. The patient doesn't recover physiological hearing, but hearing that's similar in terms of quality. The whole implant is composed of two parts: internal, implanted under the skin, in the bone behind the ear – and external, processing acoustic signals into electrical signals that are further transmitted to the internal part. The internal electrode placed directly in the cochlea, stimulates the auditory nerve, evoking hearing experiences.
In Poland, the implants of following companies are available: Advanced Bionics Ear, Cochlear, Neurelec and Medel. All those models are being successfully used by children and grown-ups to treat deep hearing loss and deafness. Selection of the adequate system should be based on individual examination, considering – above all – type of hearing loss, it's cause and age of the patient.
The first cochlear implant surgery was performed on July 15, 1992 in the Department of Otolaryngology of Medical University of Warsaw, by professor Henryk Skarzynski.