It Australian surgeon, Professor Graeme Clark successfully performed the world’s first cochlear implant surgery – marking a new era of opportunity for people with significant hearing loss.

Like most technology, the cochlear implant has rapidly transformed since its early iterations. Gone are the long cords or battery packs that users were once required to wear, now replaced with barely-visible processors and even Bluetooth streaming.

Hear and Say audiologist, Pirasha Maru works in a team which oversees hundreds of children who use cochlear implants to hear and speak. She sat down to explain how this incredible technology works.

“Cochlear implants are suitable for people with permanent, severe to profound hearing loss,” Pirasha said.

“They don’t  restore someone’s natural hearing, but rather bypass the damaged hearing system through electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve, via the implant. Our brain actually takes sound from our external environment and processes the information to create meaning from it – the ear is just the pathway in.”

Hearing through a cochlear implant

(C) Cochlear Limited 2021. This material is reproduced with the permission of Cochlear Limited.

Cochlear implant switch on

The special moment when someone’s cochlear implant is turned on by their audiologist after surgery is known as a “switch on”.

Check out the video below to watch as Ella’s cochlear implants are switched on for the first time – an emotional and exciting milestone when she hears sound for the first time – and only the beginning of his journey learning to hear and speak.

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