28/05/2012 06:14 BST | Updated 28/05/2012 06:16 BST

100 Years Of Innovation: Cochlear Implant

To understand why the cochlear implant is one of the greatest innovations of the past 100 years, words are not really required.

The video above is enough to show just why and how the invention that brings hearing to the deaf is a marvel that builds and improves lives.

The cochlear implant, invented by Australian professor Graeme Clark, was the first device to actually restore brain functions prosthetically. Now 120,000 people worldwide can hear again thanks to the implant.

The implant works like this:

• An external processor captures sound and converts it into digital code

• The sound processor transmits the digital code sound through the coil to the implant

• The implant converts the sound into electrical impulses, sending them along and electrode array in the cochlea or inner ear

• The electrodes then stimulate your own hearing nerve, which sends impulses to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound

Clark is a life-long innovator, having begun experimenting as a child in his parents' laundry, and is currently looking to develop a fully bionic ear.

He told Australia's ABC: "I'm now collaborating with St Vincent's Hospital and the University of Wollongong to develop these intelligent polymers and grow nerves on them, so that we can make better contact with the hearing nerve, and so create better bionic ears. And also this will allow us, I hope, to take people with broken spinal cords and bridge the gap and allow the nerves to connect from the top to the bottom so that they may be able to feel again, have body function and hopefully walk again."

Do you have a good cochlear story? Tell us in comments below.