Our patients with nerve deafness (sensorineural hearing loss) who do not achieve benefit with hearing aids can be considered for cochlear implantation. A cochlear implant is a computerized device that may restore useful hearing to those with moderate to profound hearing loss.
Patients under consideration for cochlear implants undergo a comprehensive evaluation by our cochlear implant team. Our team, employing a patient-centered approach, consists of otolaryngologists and audiologists. Radiological tests, specialized hearing tests, and counseling for patients and their families are all part of the evaluation process. There is no upper age limit for a patient to receive a cochlear implant.
A cochlear implant converts sound waves into electrical signals that stimulate the auditory nerve. To do this, cochlear implants are surgically placed within the inner ear. The cochlear implant bypasses the damaged part of the inner ear (cochlear) to provide hearing.
Cochlear implant surgery lasts approximately two to three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Patients generally return home the same day and can return to work or school within a week of surgery.
Approximately three to four weeks following surgery, the patient’s external speech processor is activated and programmed by their audiologist. A number of programming sessions (particularly in the first year) are required in order to fine tune the patient’s hearing skills. While sounds will be heard following the first programming session, the ability to understand speech takes a longer period of time. Each patient is unique and the ability to develop good understanding varies from patient to patient.
Cochlear implantation can be a life-transforming experience by giving back to the patient the world of sound that had been lost.