In many healthcare systems electrical stimulation of the human auditory system, using cochlear implants, is a common treatment for severe to profound deafness. This chapter will describe how electrical stimulation manages to compensate for sensory-neural hearing loss by bypassing the damaged cochlea. The challenges involved in the design and application of cochlear implants will be outlined, including the programming of clinical systems to suit the needs of implanted patients. Today’s variety of patient will be reviewed: unilaterally and bilaterally implanted, bimodal users of a cochlear implant as well as a contralateral hearing aid, CROS device users having either asymmetrical hearing loss or single-sided deafness. Alternative devices such as auditory brainstem implants will be described, and additionally the more experimental auditory mid-brain implants and intraneural stimulation approaches. Research that is likely to bring medium term benefits to the clinical application of cochlear implants will also be described.
Part of the book: The Human Auditory System