A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps people hear. It can be used for people who are deaf or very hard of hearing. A cochlear implant is not the same thing as a hearing aid because it is surgically implanted and works by stimulating the auditory nerve.
The implant includes an external piece that sits behind the ear and a second piece that is surgically placed under the skin.
- The FDA first approved cochlear implant devices for adults in 1985 and for children in 1990.
- By the end of 2007, approximately 120,000 people were using cochlear implants worldwide. About half of those people are adults and half are children.
- Cochlear implants can cost between $60,000 - $100,000. Many insurance companies, including Medicare, cover this surgery.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Cochlear Implants. Accessed August 2008. Available at: