The core components of a cochlear ear implant is a microphone, speech processor, transmitter, receiver, stimulator, and network of electrodes that connect the cochlea to the device. A cochlear ear implant is surgically implanted under the skin, behind the ear. The electrodes connect to the auditory center inside the ear, and when sound passes through the electrodes, a signal is sent to the brain so that the sound can be processed. For best results, doctors recommend that deaf children get cochlear ear implants when they are babies and their brains are still developing. Adults who have lost their hearing are also good candidates for the device.
In the US and UK, the cost of the device and surgical procedure can be tens of thousands of dollars or pounds. Abroad, the price of the operation and device are more affordable. In Costa Rica, Argentina, and other developed countries in Latin America, cochlear ear implant surgery may cost less than half of what it costs in the US and UK. Ear surgeons in Latin America often study in the top medical schools in the US and Europe, and doctors stay current with the latest research in hearing restoration. For the cochlear ear implant itself, patients may choose from many models and brands. More medical supply companies are developing such devices, so the price has gone down in recent years. In the Czech Republic and other modern countries in Central Europe, cochlear ear implant surgery is widely available and more affordable. Doctors are skilled and experienced, and hospitals are staffed with caring professionals.