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Patient Resources

CEHC Services: How Can Carolina Ear & Hearing Help You

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant (CI) is an implantable medical device designed to provide sound detection and speech recognition for individuals with a severe to profound hearing loss. In contrast to a hearing aid, a cochlear implant bypasses the damaged part of the ear by providing electrical stimulation to the surviving auditory nerve fibers in the cochlea.

Cochlear Implant Candidacy for Adults

To be considered a candidate for a cochlear implant, an adult must meet the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss
  • Limited benefit from appropriately fitted hearing aids
  • No medical contraindication for surgery (i.e. CT scan)
  • Desire to improve hearing, realistic expectations and be committed to participating in a follow-up program

Cochlear Implant Candidacy for Children

To be considered a candidate for a cochlear implant, a child must meet the following criteria:

  • 12 months of age or older
  • Bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss for children under age 2 years
  • Bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss for children over age 2 years
  • Limited benefit with appropriately fit amplification
  • Lack of progress in auditory development
  • No medical contraindications for surgery (i.e. CT scan)
  • Desire to improve hearing, realistic expectations and be committed to participating in a follow-up program

The cochlear implant consists of two basic parts, the processor and the implant. The processor is worn outside the body over the ear and the implant is surgically placed in the ear.

How Cochlear Implants Work

A cochlear implant works in the following manner:

  • Sounds are picked up by the microphones on the speech processor
  • The speech processor then filters, analyzes and digitizes the sounds into coded signals
  • The coded signals are then sent from the processor to the transmitting coil
  • The transmitting coil then sends the coded signal as FM radio signals to the cochlear implant under the skin
  • The cochlear implant delivers the appropriate electrical energy to the array of electrodes that in turn stimulates the remaining auditory nerve fibers in the cochlea
  • The auditory nerve then sends this signal to the brain for interpretation

More Information

If you would like more information about cochlear implants visit:
•  www.advancedbionics.com
•  www.cochlearamericas.com
•  www.medel.com