What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a solution beyond hearing aids. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that has two parts, an internal and external device. The internal device requires a surgery and is placed inside the inner ear. Once the internal device is placed, it cannot be seen and can only be removed with another surgery. The external device is worn on the ear and is visible. It can be removed and is programmed specifically for each patient.
Who is a candidate for a cochlear implant?
For adults, a cochlear implant may be recommended if the patient has a moderately-severe to profound hearing loss or has severe difficulty understanding speech. For children, a cochlear implant may be recommended if the child has a severe to profound hearing loss and is not progressing in their speech development. A hearing aid trial of at least 3 months is required with appropriately fit amplification for both children and adults before a surgery can be scheduled.
If your audiologist feels you may be a candidate for a cochlear implant after all other amplification options have been explored, the patient will undergo a cochlear implant pre-evaluation which includes a complete audiological evaluation with and without hearing aids and a medical evaluation. If the patient is determined to be a good medical and audiological candidate for a cochlear implant the surgery will be scheduled. All follow-up appointments can be scheduled at Southeast Kentucky Audiology.
Success with a cochlear implant
A cochlear implant is not a cure for hearing loss and does not make hearing normal. It provides a patient with access to sound that was otherwise being missed with hearing aids. Hearing with a cochlear implant is very different than hearing normally or with a hearing aid. It is an electronic signal that the brain must be trained to recognize and understand. For some patients, it can take months before they begin to understand speech. It is critical for the patient and family to be committed to the rehabilitation and time it takes to be successful with a cochlear implant.
If you have questions about a cochlear implant or feel you may be a candidate do not hesitate to contact our office for a consultation!