Potential Benefits of Cochlear Implants for Individuals Who Communicate Exclusively Through Sign LanguageBy Rawool, Vishakha W.; Hearing Review,
Publication Date: October 2007
Part one of a two-part article on cochlear implants (CIs) and their benefits for hearing-impaired individuals who communicate through sign language. In the ear, inner hair cells are necessary to transfer the mechanical vibration in the inner ear caused by sounds presented to the ear into neural/electrochemical impulses. CIs work by bypassing the function of the inner ear and directly stimulating the nerve fibers; thus they can benefit individuals with severe-to-profound deafness, who have very few surviving inner hair cells. Benefits of a CI for a severely hearing-impaired individual discussed are (1) access to soundscapes, i.e. the sounds naturally occurring in the environment such as birds singing and leaves rustling, which can lead to improved quality of life; (2) access to warning sounds, e.g. the sound of a vehicle approaching from behind the listener, fire alarms, and other alerting signals; (3) relief from tinnitus, a lingering, ringing sound in the ear which often accompanies hearing loss. Recent advancement in CI technology discussed is improved spectral resolution (increase in frequencies transmitted). Part two of the article will look at issues involving CIs and access to music.
Published by: Ascend Media LLC (Website:http://www.ascendmedia.com)
Link to text: http://www.hearingreview.com/issues/articles/2007-10_04.asp