Grandpa wearing cochlear

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant uses both external and internal devices to electrically stimulate the cochlear nerve directly.

Who is a candidate?

A cochlear implant requires invasive surgery, so candidacy is based on a strict set of requirements agreed upon by the manufacturer, the ENT physician, and the doctor of audiology. A cochlear implant is a good option for a patient who cannot benefit from traditional hearing instruments alone. One caveat: Patients might state that they get little benefit from hearing devices when, in actuality, their devices are poorly fit or in need of an update.

I’ve heard some pretty unbelievable things about cochlear implants — are they true?

You hear perfectly as soon as your cochlear implant is activated.
FALSE! Success with a cochlear implant takes patience, rehabilitation, and time. The average length of time for acclimatization is 6 to 18 months.

A BAHA (bone-anchored hearing aid) and a cochlear implant are the same thing.
FALSE! Although they are both implantable devices, a BAHA is specifically for single-sided deafness or conductive hearing loss, whereas a cochlear implant treats sensorineural hearing loss.

The external part of the cochlear implant is gigantic.
FALSE! We’ve come a long way. The Kanso2 (a type of cochlear processor) is a mere inch and a half wide and hides underneath the hair. The Nucleus 7 processor is larger, but patients always have a choice in the implant’s style.

A patient can be cured of true deafness with an implant.
TRUE! For the appropriate candidate, a cochlear implant can restore functional hearing. It does take a lot of effort for both the patient and the audiologist, but with determination, hearing is possible for most.

What kinds of questions do you ask people who are interested in a cochlear implant?

  • Have you worn a hearing aid before?
  • Was the hearing aid purchased from a professional?
  • How old are your hearing aids?
  • How much do you know about a cochlear implant?
  • Have you ever had a hearing test?

The ideal cochlear implant candidate has an established relationship with a clinical audiologist who is familiar with their hearing journey so far. Contact us today if you suspect you need a hearing test!

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