How Cochlear Implants Differ from Hearing Aids
A conventional hearing aid amplifies an acoustic signal, making it louder. The amplified signal travels down the ear canal, passing through the middle ear and then finally into the cochlea - which is the normal route of transmission of sound to the inner ear.
A cochlear implant converts acoustic sounds into an electrical signal. Unlike the hearing aid, a cochlear implant is implanted in such a way that it bypasses the outer and middle ear, sending the electrical signal directly to the cochlea. The electrical signal is applied directly to the cochlea, so it bypasses the outer and middle ear. Cochlear implant recipients who had normal hearing at one time in their life report that sound through a cochlear implant is different than normal hearing. However, over time, they often say that they have slowly become used to the sound quality of a cochlear implant. However music and speech understanding in noise continues to be difficult.