- A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
- Cochlear implants compensate for damaged or non-working parts of the inner ear.
- When hearing is functioning normally, complicated parts of the inner ear convert sound waves in the air into electrical impulses.
- These impulses are then sent to the brain, where a hearing person recognizes them as sound. A cochlear implant works in a similar manner.
- An implant does not restore or create normal hearing. Instead, under the appropriate conditions, it can give a deaf person a useful auditory understanding of the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
- The implant is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear.
30 year old Alisa Watson from Ledbury, who was born deaf, is just three weeks away from a cochlear implant operation.
The operation is not without risks, as it will destroy what little hearing she has at the moment, and she doesn't know how good her hearing will be after the treatment.
In the second part of our changing lives feature Alisa talks about her expectations as she waits to have the operation.
"I think I'm quite excited by it all. It doesn't feel very real at the moment because it's not happening, but when I think about it, I think of all the potential it could bring, I do feel quite excited.
"It would be nice to hear the radio - I don't know if I'll ever be able to hear radio broadcasts but someday I might be able to understand something of a weather report or a traffic report.
"I don't really listen to music but it would be great to have a better appreciation of music.
"I can hear the rhythm, the beat, and I can hear maybe some sort of harmony in music, but it all sounds the same to me. By the time they are on the third piece I'm really bored."
|"My fear is that with the implant I might muck things up for myself - going backwards rather than forwards."|
"I think I'm quite excited and then other days I wonder if I'm making the right decision."
" The biggest fear I have is regret - I can cope with the hearing aids, I've done so for 30 years."
"I'm happy in my job, I'm able to interact with people, colleagues - my fear is that with the implant I might muck things up for myself - going backwards rather than forwards."
"But it's just something I'll have to trust God with, hoping that he's in control."
We'll be telling the rest of Alisa's story over the course of this week.