The cochlear implant is a device that allows some people who are deaf to hear some sound. It does this by putting small amounts of electrical current near the hearing nerve in response to sounds. After much special training and practice, the brain learns to interpret this electrical current as sound. The cochlear implant has two main parts: 1), the internal part, which is surgically implanted in a part of the inner ear called the cochlea and into a hole drilled into the mastoid bone, and 2), the external part, which is worn outside the body like a hearing aid.
Remember, this guide will not tell you about all the materials the Library has about cochlear implants. You must do the research yourself. This guide will give you some starting points to begin your search for information. If you need further assistance, please ask at the Service Desk.
For introductory material about cochlear implants, you will need to check more specialized sources. It is helpful to check these sources to familiarize yourself with the topic and the vocabulary used for that topic. A few suggestions:
- Cochlear implants: the deaf community's view. San Diego, Calif.: DawnPictures, 1994. (VHS 256; request it at the Circulation Desk.)
- Cochlear implants are controversial, especially in the deaf community. This videotape presents a panel of deaf community leaders who discuss the pros and cons of cochlear implants.
- Pickett, J.M. "Cochlear implants", in Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987, Volume 1, pages 193-196.
- A good introductory article that describes the basic types of cochlear implants, the possible risks, and the criteria for who can potentially benefit from cochlear implants. It also discusses tactile aids and presents research in those areas. Includes diagrams and a brief bibliography.
- Tucker, Bonnie P. Cochlear implants: a handbook. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1998. (DEAF 617.882 T82c 1998)
- A thorough discussion of cochlear implants, how they work, and what is involved in getting one. The author writes from personal experience since she has a cochlear implant herself.
- Chorost, M. Rebuilt: How becoming part computer made me more human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2005. (DEAF 920 C46r, 2005)
- Michael Chorost chronicles his experience with a new cochlear implant.
- Sound and the Fury. New York, NY: Docurama. 2002. (DEAF DVD 362.0425 S685, 2002)
- A well-known documentary about a deaf family that struggles with the decision to implant their daughter, this film addresses some of the controversial aspects of cochlear implantation and its effect on the deaf community.
The World Wide Web also contains much information about cochlear implants. Three sites on the Web belong to cochlear implant manufacturers, and can provide good information about their implants. Of course, they will present only the positive side of cochlear implants:
- Advanced Bionics (Clarion): http://www.advancedbionics.com
- AllHear, Inc.: http://www.allhear.com
- Med-El: http://www.medel.com
- Cochlear Corporation: http://www.cochlear.com
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Revised by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
Revised and updated by James McCarthy
Instruction & Reference Librarian