Through the cochlear implant, the gift of hearing has been given to over three hundred severely to profoundly hearing-impaired patients at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates, P.A. (CEENTA).
What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that partially restores hearing. They are often considered for adults and children who have severe hearing loss from inner-ear damage and receive no help from hearing aids. Cochlear implants may be placed in one or both ears.
Cochlear implants provide electrical stimulation to the cochlear nerve, which helps the patient hear. Unlike a hearing aid, part of the cochlear implant is placed inside the cochlea, which stimulates the cochlear nerve that leads to the auditory cortex in the brain. Both adults and children can benefit from cochlear implants.
The cochlear implant consists of two parts, one internal and one external. The internal portion of the device is implanted into the cochlea during a 2-3 hour surgical procedure. Following a period of healing, the external portion of the device is programmed for optimal hearing during a series of appointments with an audiologist. The external portion of the device is becoming smaller and smaller and many of the devices are now available in a size that resembles a large behind-the-ear hearing aid. Risks and complications during the procedure are minimal.
There are currently three cochlear implant companies in the United States: Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics Corporation, and Med-El Corporation.
The rewards and benefits of the cochlear implant are unsurpassed. In many cases the advances in cochlear implant technology have allowed patients who have lost their hearing to regain the ability to hear and understand speech and to use the telephone.
Who is a good candidate for cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants are now available for young children 12 months of age and older who have not obtained adequate hearing through hearing aids. Hearing loss has a significant impact on a child’s life, particularly the development of their speech and language, which in turn significantly impacts their social and academic success.
Cochlear implant results vary from person to person. However, research has shown that benefits include a normal range of hearing, including in noisy environments; understanding of speech, sound clarity, and language; better educational outcomes; and better quality of life for both children and adult patients.
THE CEENTA COCHLEAR IMPLANT TEAM
The CEENTA cochlear implant team has extensive training and experience in the implantation and programming of cochlear implants. This team has seen cochlear implants develop into a viable option for the severely and profoundly hearing-impaired through technological advances in both the external and internal device. The cochlear implant differs significantly from a hearing aid in that it bypasses the damaged end organ of hearing allowing for stimulation of the remaining nerve fibers, which results in hearing.
CEENTA audiologists offer cochlear implant care in our SouthPark location, using the most up-to-date technology and treatment.
Technology in cochlear implants is rapidly advancing. If you have questions or concerns regarding cochlear implantation please contact the CEENTA Audiology Department at (704) 295-3300.