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HSC outcomes
Cochlear implant

Hearing and the ear
The cochlear implant
History: Who developed the cochlear implant and why?
Research and development process
Commercial development of the cochlear implant
The impact of the cochlear implant on people's lives
Social and ethical issues of cochlear implants
Cochlear implants: the future
Take it further


Nucleus® 24® Contour cochlear implant (Cochlear Pty Ltd)

NucleusŪ 24 Contour cochlear implant system (Cochlear Pty Ltd)

A cochlear implant is a medical device that is implanted into the head behind the ear of a deaf person. When used with a microphone and speech processor it electrically stimulates the auditory nerve and results in the person being able to hear sound. When the system was first developed in 1978 by Graeme Clark it was referred to as the bionic ear. Since that time a variety of cochlear implants have been developed by the Cochlear division of Nucleus.

Cochlear Limited was founded in Australia in 1981 and, since then, has maintained its position as the international leader in the manufacture and sale of Nucleus® cochlear implant systems. (Cochlear, 2000: 2)

Cochlear implants are designed for use by adults and children who are profoundly or severely deaf and get little or no help from hearing aids.

Cochlear's Nucleus implant systems enable hearing impaired people to perceive most environmental sounds and speech. The number of Nucleus® implant recipients worldwide has grown to over 27,000, with more than 13,000 of these being children. (Cochlear, 2000: 2)

The cochlear implant is an example of innovations in design, combined with engineering, information processing and software design and development.

It can be a little confusing when reading about the Cochlear implant. The following may help:
Cochlear is the division of the Nucleus company producing cochlear implants.
Cochlear Implant System is an implant developed by Cochlear.
cochlear implants is a generic term for this type of implant, note the lower case c.
The cochlea is a part of the ear, note there is no r on the end of the word.
Bionic ear was a term coined for the cochlear implant — it appealed to the public. An overseas company has now patented that term for its own cochlear implant.

Department of Education and Training
Case studies developed by the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate and supported by the Multicultural Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and Training in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum
Powerhouse Museum