The cochlear implant

The producer of the exhibited cochlear implants is the Austrian firm MED-EL (an oficial title is MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H.).

An interactiv model simulates the functioning of the MED-EL cochlear implant. The processor (bottom right) captures sounds from the environment through a microphone. The impIant converts them into electronic impulses that stimulate the cells in the cochlea. This stimulation is shown as blicking of the red LED lights in relevant parts of the cochlea. We can see that the different frequency sounds are processed in the different parts.

Some interesting facts on cochlear implantation history in Slovakia:

• 8 July 1994 – the first cochlear implantation was done in Slovakia,

• 8 March 1995 – the first prelingually deaf child had undergone implantation. The child was born as deaf or hearing impairment started in early age prior to the development of the spoken language (approximately until the age of 3) to such an extent that the child lost hearing totally or had severely broken auditory perception. As a result of deafness a spoken language can not be developed in a natural way, only by learning of a sign language as a primary language.

• 10 December 1999 – the first child younger than two implanted,

• 2 November 2000 – the first bilateral (both sides) implantation,

• 2007 – the first active middle ear implant and cochlear implant implantation,

• there were around 400 deaf people implanted in Slovakia till 2017,

• the oldest user of KI MED-EL is 77 now,

• there are the three implantation centers in Slovakia at present – in Bratislava, Košice and Ružomberok, apart from the MED-EL implants also products of the Australian manufacturer Cochlear and the French manufacturer Oticon are implanted.

Information given by Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Clinic of Medical Faculty of Comenius University and University Hospital Bratislava, Antolská street, Bratislava.