Houston Ear Research Foundation was incorporated in August, 1983 as a center to provide excellence in service dedicated to the cochlear implant. Sometimes referred to as an "electronic ear", a cochlear implant enables a deaf or severely-to- profoundly hearing impaired individual to hear sound. The cochlear implant is a surgical procedure to help those hearing impaired individuals who are not able to benefit from hearing aids, due to the severity of their hearing losses. It helps to restore some auditory sensation. This stimulation provides a wide range of benefit and auditory information necessary for recognizing and understanding environmental and speech sounds. Performance with the cochlear implant varies among individuals, but benefits include increased awareness of environmental sounds, improved speech recognition and production (to varying degrees), and enhanced lipreading abilities, which improve communication skills. The level of benefit with the cochlear implant is most successful with consistent auditory stimulation and input.