A cochlear implant is an electronic device that restores hearing. They are often considered for adults and children who have moderate to profound hearing loss from inner-ear damage and receive no help from hearing aids. They may be placed in one or both ears.
There are currently three cochlear implant companies in the United States: Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics Corporation, and Med-El Corporation.
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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 these implants.
The cochlear implant consists of two parts, one internal and one external. The internal portion of the device is surgically implanted into the cochlea. Following a period of healing, the external portion of the device is activated. The patient will then return for regular appointments to adjust the implant for optimal hearing. Our ENT physicians and audiologists work together to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your implant.
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.
Prior to surgery, it is recommended that all recipients receive vaccinations to protect against pneumococcal bacterial infections. Your doctor will discuss this with you during your consultation.
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.
Cochlear implants are now available for children 9 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.
Adults who have become deafened in one or both ears and have limited improvement in hearing with hearing aids are also good candidates. There is no upper age limit for this procedure.
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.
For adults who may experience bilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in both ears), an audiologist may determine cochlear implant candidacy through a 60/60 guideline. This includes:
Pediatric patients who may be referred for bilateral cochlear implantation may undergo a 60/65 guideline:
The CEENTA cochlear implant team has extensive training and experience in the implantation and programming of the hearing device. This team has seen the procedure develop into a viable option for 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. This allows for not only an increase in volume, but also improvement in clarity and speech understanding ability.
CEENTA audiologists offer cochlear implant care in our SouthPark and Concord locations, using the most up-to-date technology and treatment.