A hearing aid amplifies an acoustic signal, making it louder. The amplified signal travels down the ear canal, taking the normal route of transmission to the inner ear.
A cochlear implant converts acoustic sounds into an electrical signal. 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 speech begins to sound
more like the way they remembered it.