Cochlear Implant Program
The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas is proud to offer the option of a cochlear implant for eligible patients. The Cochlear Implant Team is a group of hearing specialists who provide diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitation services in all areas of cochlear implantation. The group consists of the following:
- Neurotologic surgeons
- Speech-language pathologists
What is a Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant has an external processor and then an internal processor which is surgically implanted. The surgically implanted device bypasses the damaged hair cells in the cochlea to stimulate the hearing nerve directly. The behind-the-ear (external) sound processor has tiny microphones that pick up the sound and convert it into digital signals. For those with moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears, receiving little or no benefit from hearing aids. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve making sounds louder and clearer.
Who is a Good Candidate for Cochlear Implants?
If you or someone you love has experienced significant hearing loss that is not helped by hearing aids, cochlear implants may be an option. The best candidates for this procedure have a good support system and are motivated to put in the effort to improve their hearing and communication through surgery and hearing rehabilitation . It is important to understand what is possible with cochlear implants. Your doctor will discuss this during the consultation visit. It is also important to expect a multi-phase process after receiving the cochlear implants, including activation, programming, and rehabilitation.
What Conditions Does the Cochlear Implant Help?
A cochlear implant may help individuals with sensorineural hearing loss who have difficulty understanding speech with hearing aid use. The purpose of a cochlear implant is to gain better speech understanding when hearing aids no longer help. Having this ability, patients report improved communication since they are better able to understand the speech of others and of themselves. The use of a cochlear implant may provide confidence with consistent use and can increase a person’s safety and quality of life by enabling them to hear the sounds around them.
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What is the Best Age to Get Cochlear Implants?
You might think that cochlear implants are best for children or for adults of a certain age. The truth is age is one of the least important factors that doctors consider when considering this treatment. According to studies , children who receive cochlear implants very early in life develop better hearing and listening skills. During infancy and toddlerhood, the brain continues to enhance its neural connections. During this time, it may be easier for a child to adapt to the electrical stimulation of the cochlear implant. That said, adults can also adjust very nicely to this form of intervention. The benefits of cochlear implants can be enormous for any adult whose hearing has degraded suddenly or over time. The biggest predictor of success is the length of time hearing has been profoundly diminished without intervention. Essentially, earlier intervention is tied to better outcomes, regardless of age.
Are the Results Permanent?
Cochlear implants are devised to last indefinitely. However, there is a possibility, the equipment may fail or get damaged. This is rare and treatable with surgical replacement.
Who is not Eligible for a Cochlear Implant?
To be a candidate for a cochlear implant, it is necessary to be in good general health. This is because surgery is involved, and you must be healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia. Both auditory nerves must also be present. Cochlear implants are designed to address sensorineural hearing loss. This means that, to be a candidate, your hearing loss has occurred in the cochlea or inner ear.
Are there any Risks from Cochlear Implants?
The cochlear implant procedure is performed using general anesthesia, which carries its own risks. A thorough medical evaluation beforehand confirms that general anesthesia will be safe for each patient. Additional surgical risks will be discussed during your consultation. We are thorough in our discussion of the benefits and risks associated with cochlear implants. If, after your consultation, questions arise, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Schedule a consultation with a member of our audiology department at one of our six North Texas office locations – McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, and Celina – by calling us at 972-984-1050.
How Does The Cochlear Implant Work?
The implant is under the skin behind the ear and receives digital signals from the sound processor. These signals are sent to the auditory nerve and are interpreted as sound. The use of cochlear implants for the treatment of severe to profound hearing loss has had significant advancements since the initial implants placed by Dr. William House in the 1960s.
What Is A Hybrid Cochlear Implant?
Traditional hearing aids don’t always work for people with severe high frequency hearing loss. The answer is a hybrid cochlear implant. This type of implant uses the acoustic amplification of the hearing aid to improve low frequency hearing, and uses the electrical stimulation of the cochlear implant for higher frequency hearing. The hybrid cochlear implant is different from the cochlear implant in its design. The electrode array is much shorter in this implant so it doesn’t go as far into the inner ear.
Benefit Of A Hybrid Cochlear Implant
For people with relatively good hearing (mild hearing loss) in the lower frequencies with more significant (severe) hearing loss in the higher frequencies may be a candidate for a hybrid cochlear implant. This unique combination of two proven technologies — acoustic amplification and cochlear implant technology—in one device.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about cochlear implants, call 972.984.1050 to schedule a consultation. ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas serves McKinney, Allen, Plano, Celina, Frisco, Carrollton, and surrounding areas.