Implant, cochlear
A device that is surgically placed (implanted) within the inner ear to assist selected persons with deafness to hear. Cochlear implants are not a magic potion — they rarely cure severe or profound deafness — but they can unquestionably help some hearing-impaired people, children included. For children congenitally deaf (that is, born deaf), a preschool implant can markedly increase the child's chance of being able to mainstream and function effectively in regular classes in school. What the cochlear implant does in this case is to permit the child to distinguish the sounds of language clearly enough to participate in a verbal environment. The cost of cochlear implant surgery is "amortized" by reduced reliance over time on costly support services such as speech therapy and tutoring and, particularly, by the lower cost of mainstreaming as compared to special classes for the deaf. Cochlear implants are controversial in the deaf community, which relies on highly expressive sign language and other forms of communication that deaf people do not consider to be inferior to verbal speech.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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