Children and adults are considered viable candidates for cochlear implants depending on a host of factors, including the type and magnitude of hearing loss.
Candidacy is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by our Implant Surgeon and Audiologist.
Adults may qualify for cochlear implantation regardless of whether they lost their hearing before or after learning language. Adults who developed language before losing their hearing typically have greater success with cochlear implants. Adult candidates are generally eligible for an implant if they:
- Have moderate to profound hearing loss in one or both ears.
- Get little or no benefit from hearing aids.
- Have evidence of a functioning auditory nerve
- Have family stability, support
- Have a realistic understanding of the surgery, the risks, and inherent benefits to cochlear implantation
- Have no medical problems that could put them at risk during surgery.
- Have a strong desire to be part of the hearing world.
Children with hearing loss as young as 12 months old can be eligible for a cochlear implant. Experts recommend implantation as early as possible to expose children to sounds during the critical period of language acquisition. After implantation, they must undergo intense speech and language therapy to achieve the best possible outcome from the device.
Children are considered viable candidates when they:
- Have profound hearing loss in both ears.
- Get little or no benefit using hearing aids.
- Are healthy and don’t have any medical conditions that would compromise surgery.
- Understand (when able), along with their parents, their role in the successful use of cochlear implants.
- Have support from an educational program that will emphasize the development of auditory skills.
Candidacy for cochlear implantation begins with a comprehensive examination of the ear, nose, and throat and a discussion of the patient’s medical and hearing histories.
The evaluation also involves radiographic imaging (MRI or CT scan) and a conventional audiogram (hearing test) that measures how well a patient can hear using advanced hearing aid technology.
A review board ultimately evaluates the collective information to determine whether a patient qualifies as a cochlear implant candidate. Based on the review, the treatment options for the hearing loss are presented.
If someone is not a cochlear implant candidate or is not sure that they would like to commit to a cochlear implant, we are happy to provide guidance on alternative options that may be available.