At the present time, cochlear implantation is the only available medical intervention for patients with profound hearing loss and is considered the "standard of care" for both prelingually deaf infants and post-lingually deaf adults. It has been suggested recently that cochlear implants are one of the greatest accomplishments of auditory neuroscience. Despite the enormous success of cochlear implantation for the treatment of profound deafness, especially in young prelingually deaf children, several pressing unresolved clinical issues have emerged that are at the forefront of current research efforts in the field. In this commentary we briefly review how a cochlear implant works and then discuss five of the most critical clinical and basic research issues: (1) individual differences in outcome and benefit, (2) speech perception in noise, (3) music perception, (4) neuroplasticity and perceptual learning, and (5) binaural hearing.
Keywords: Cochlear implants, auditory prostheses, deafness, signal processing