The cochlear implant is an elective treatment for those who have lost all or most of their useful hearing in both ears. Figures collected by the MRC Institute of Hearing Research show that at the end of the year 2000, more than 1,500 adults and more than 1,400 children had received implants in the UK.

When there is a very severe to total sensorineural hearing loss it is usually because the hair cells in the cochlea are so damaged that they do not create these electrical signals, or enough of them, to make use of a hearing aid satisfactory. The cochlear nerve is usually intact. The cochlear implant is so named because it is implanted in the cochlea.

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