Cochlear implants are designed for people with a profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from hearing aids. The cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device that stimulates the auditory nerve with electrical signals that the brain can interpret as sound. The device is comprised of two main components: 1) the external processor, microphone and battery and 2) the surgically implanted internal receiver with electrodes in the cochlea. The audiologist will discuss in detail the components of the cochlear implant device, its functions, benefits and limitations as well as the surgical process.

The cochlear implant evaluation involves a hearing test to confirm the type and degree of your hearing loss, hearing aid evaluation to assess the benefit provided by appropriately fitted hearing aids and aided speech recognition testing to determine if hearing aid(s) might provide greater benefit than an implant. The evaluation takes approximately two hours.

A CT (computerized tomography) scan is the next step. The CT produces a two-dimensional X-ray of your inner ear. It allows the surgeon to evaluate the ear's internal structure, recommend which ear to implant and may provide information as to the cause of deafness.

Patients find out if they qualify for an implant, based on the results of the entire evaluation. They are selected based on medical and hearing histories, test results, personal and family motivation, CT scan results, and medical clearance. If a patient qualifies, possible benefits and limitations will be explained and the patient will be provided with information to select the device.

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