Qualifying for Cochlear Implants: February 3, 2017
Studies show 20 percent of Americans have some degree of hearing loss. A new technology is turning up the volume for patients struggling to hear.
Ear, nose and throat Dr. Travis Pfannenstiel says cochlear implants are an effective treatment for patients who qualify. “Cochlear implant is a technology where we implant a device into the inner ear and it sends electronic signals directly to the cochlear nerve. That allows the patient to develop hearing.”
Patients who qualify for the cochlear implant are either children who are born deaf, or adults who suddenly of progressively lose their hearing. Children can get the implant before they are two years old. “Most of them will get two implants. The first implant is a life changing experience that takes them from a deaf state to a hearing state. The second implant provides them with some direction sense. It can help them with some discrimination of sound and noise,” said Dr. Pfannenstiel.
Patients will undergo a hearing test to find out if they qualify for the implant. “We do testing with their hearing aids on and they undergo this testing in an auditory booth and there’s a little bit of back ground noise,” said Dr. Pfannenstiel. A candidate typically scores 40 percent or below on hearing and noise tests.
“It’s become a very common procedure nationwide, and in my practice it’s become a very common procedure,” said Dr. Pfannenstiel.
After surgery, patients typically benefit from speech therapy to help them acclimate to the new sounds.