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David Vernick, Otolaryngology, answeredA cochlear implant is not an alternative to a hearing aid for people with mild to moderate hearing loss due to aging or other common causes. How much a person is able to hear after a cochlear implant depends on many things, including how long the person has been deaf and his or her motivation to learn how to use the implant. A cochlear implant is different from a hearing aid. It bypasses the usual route of sound through the ear to the hair cells in the cochlea and then to the auditory nerve. Instead, it sends an electrical signal directly from an external antenna to the implanted receiver and then to electrodes in the inner ear, which stimulate the auditory nerve.