Oticon Alta2 Hear even the softest sounds

Single Channel versus Multi-Channel Cochlear Implants

Many people think of ''channels'' in cochlear implant systems as the number of ''electrode contacts.'' While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, this practice does not accurately define either term. In cochlear implant systems, the term channel refers to the number of stimulation sites within the inner ear, or cochlea, and is defined by a range of frequencies, or pitches. All sounds, ranging from low pitch (bass) to high pitch (treble) sounds are separated into the number of available channels.

In a single channel system, all sound information is delivered to only one channel. Thus, all information is transmitted to a single area of stimulation within the cochlea, regardless of the pitch of the incoming signal.

Multi-channel cochlear implant systems divide the incoming signal into various frequency bands that are then transmitted to various sites of stimulation spanning the inner ear. In this way, low pitch sounds are sent to one part of the cochlea and high pitch sounds to another. The goal in multi-channel systems is to more closely mimic the human ear, in which sounds are organized by frequency, like the keys of a piano. Because the system can transmit much more detailed information about the incoming signal, the processing of sound is more complex, and the device fitting is somewhat more involved.

The general belief is that multiple channels provide a more detailed representation of sound and, therefore, better speech understanding than just one channel is capable of transmitting. There is still some debate on how many channels are needed, and there is clearly no ''magic number.'' Independent researchers tend to agree that speech understanding is not greatly improved with more than 6-10 channels. Speech understanding with multi-channel implant systems tends to decline when fewer than four channels are used.

For more information click here.

Share this article

2 people like this


Related Content
Preferred Professionals Near You
See More Preferred Professionals

Clinics above not close enough?
Search with your zipcode below.

Sign Up for Our eNewsletter
Our free eNewsletter is delivered to your inbox every two weeks - it’s the best way to stay informed about what’s new at Healthy Hearing!
Preferred Hearing Professionals Near You

ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP - Woodbridge

485 Rte 1 S Bldg B
Iselin, NJ 08830

Click Here for Details

JFK Medical Center The Center for Audiology

65 James St
Edison, NJ 08820

Click Here for Details

The Hearing Center - Clark

49 Brant Ave
Clark, NJ 07066

Click Here for Details