What is a cochlear implant? Love Island's Tasha Ghouri's 'superpower' explained

The 23-year-old model and dancer is Love Island's first deaf contestant

Love Island's Natasha Ghouri has made history as the ITV show's first deaf contestant. The dancer was also the first ASOS model to be pictured wearing a cochlear implant - but how does the device actually work?

SEE: 5 celebrities you may not have known are deaf or hard of hearing

Tasha's infectious energy and confidence aren't hindered by what she calls her "superpower". In fact, the star is incredibly proud of her movements to disrupt the modelling industry. The 23-year-old wrote on Instagram: "Representation matters, and I'm proud to represent my community. Biggest love to @asos for welcoming me in and breaking boundaries."

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From entering the Love Island villa to making moves in the fashion industry, Tasha continues to inspire fans and raise awareness for the deaf community. In her own words: "no matter what disability you’ve got.. you can do it."

Tasha is Love Island's first deaf contestant

Why does Tasha Ghouri have a cochlear implant?

Taking to Instagram to explain her 'superpower' to the world, Tasha explained: "I have sensory loss, which means the small hairs in the cochlear were missing and damaged when I was born. We still don't know why."

Tasha and her whole family learned to communicate through British Sign Language when she was young. "As I got older I became less reliant on it because of the cochlear implant and learning to lip read," she shared.

READ: Love Island's Tasha dated this Strictly Come Dancing star - get the details

MORE: Love Island's first deaf contestant reveals special friendship with Rose Ayling-Ellis

Can Tasha hear anything and what do people sound like?

"When the outer piece of my device is taken off I cannot hear anything. I feel beats and vibrations. "People sound a little robotic but my brain has adapted to it and I also rely on lip reading and body language," she added.

Tasha has found love with fellow Islander Andrew Le Page

Is a cochlear implant the same thing as a hearing aid?

Not quite. A cochlear implant is surgically implanted, whereas hearing aids are removable and are used to amplify sound for people with residual hearing.

"The implant has small fibre optics pushed into the cochlear to replace the missing hairs that stimulate the fluid and send intelligent messages to my brain," explains Tasha. "The outer part is a computer that is programmed for the frequency of my loss."

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Katie Ogden, Audiologist and Training Manager of leading hearing aid brand, ReSound, explains: "A common assumption is that cochlear implants restore hearing in deaf individuals, but this is not true.

"There are two parts of the implant, the external element features a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter, while the internal element features a receiver and an electrode tray which is implanted within the inner ear."

Tasha became the first ASOS model pictured wearing a cochelar implant

How long does it take to recover from cochlear implant surgery?

"Following cochlear implant surgery, patients will need additional support and guidance from speech language experts and audiologists in order to understand and correctly interpret the signals they are being sent via the technology," Katie adds.

Within 3-6 months of use, most people with a cochlear implant are able to adjust to the device, making major progress with their speech and ability to interpret sounds and communication.

If you believe a cochlear implant could improve your quality of life, be sure to seek out the advice of a hearing care professional to discuss your needs.

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