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Hearing and the Ear

Illustrates the structure of the ear and how it allows us to perceive sound.

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Practice Hearing and the Ear
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From Ear Trumpet to Implant

From Ear Trumpet to Implant


Credit: Arallyn!
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73025637@N02/6832806735
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Centuries ago, ear trumpets were the only devices available to help hearing-impaired people. Today, many cases of hearing impairment can be treated with bionic implants.

Why It Matters

  • Some people can’t hear at all or can’t hear normally because of problems in their inner ear. In these people, sound waves aren’t changed to electrical signals that the brain can interpret as sounds.
  • Credit: David Shankbone
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/10662254555/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Cochlear implants allow people with hearing impairments to maintain an active lifestyle [Figure2]


  • Cochlear implants may be able to do this job for them. Watch this video to learn how cochlear implants have transformed the lives of real hearing-impaired people:


What Do You Think?

Learn how cochlear implants work at the link below. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. How does a cochlear implant differ from a hearing aid?
  2. Describe the type of hearing loss that cochlear implants are designed to help.
  3. Describe the parts of a cochlear implant and how the different parts work.
  4. What are some advantages of cochlear implants?
  5. What are some risks and disadvantages of cochlear implants?
  6. Who are good candidates for cochlear implants?
  7. How young can you be to receive cochlear implants?
  8. What do you think? Based on the video at the link above, how do you think receiving cochlear implants would change your life if you had severe hearing loss?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Arallyn!; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73025637@N02/6832806735; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: David Shankbone; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/10662254555/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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