This program is for adults who are cochlear implant candidates. Our implant team works with all three implant manufacturers: Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics, and MedEl Corporation. Our team also has experiance with the Nucleus Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI).

Candidacy is considered on an individual basis for each patient. Current FDA criteria state that an adult (18 years and older) must demonstrate a moderate to severe/profound sensorineural hearing loss and limited benefit from traditional amplification. Limited benefit is defined as a score in the "best-aided" condition on the HINT Sentence test of less than 60%. Our program considers candidacy for post-lingually deafened adults (those who lost their hearing after learning spoken language) as well as for pre-lingually deafened adults (those who lost their hearing prior to the development of spoken language). Other factors considered in candidacy include the integrity of the auditory nerve and cochlea, a patient's ability to undergo surgery, patients' expectations and motivation, and support services availbale for the patient (ie, family support, transportation, insurance).

The preoperative testing required in the program includes the following series of assessments with the approximate times necessary for each step:

Audiologic Assessment 1/2 hour
Medical Consultation 1/2 hour
Hearing Aid Assessment 1 hour
Auditory Perception Tests 2 hours
CT Scan 1 hour
Promontory Evaluation 2 hours
Speech and Language Assessment 1 hour

Surgery is not scheduled until insurance approval is obtained, which usually takes between 6-8 weeks. Most insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, will cover cochlear implantation and our team will work with patients as much as possible to obtain insurance approval or appeal any denials of cochlear implant surgery by insurance.

The time period needed to complete necessary evaluations and to obtain insurance approvals for surgery is approximately eight weeks. The tests listed above can typically be completed in three to five visits.

After surgical placement of the implant, a four to six week period is required to allow adequate healing of the incision site. Activation of the implant is a two day procedure (2 hours on each day). During the activation, the device is adjusted and tuned using a computer. The patient then returns one week later for further programming to monitor any changes in the patient's new hearing. Each patient's postoperative management varies. Monthly visits to the implant center for programming may be necessary until the patient's hearing stabilizes. These visits will last approximately two hours. After the first year, the patient will be asked to return to the center annually for a formal evaluation. This is a way to chart each individual's progress with the cochlear implant.

For those who feel they may be a candidate for a cochlear implant, our center encourages an initial assessment to determine candidacy and discuss the process of implantation. This appointment may be scheduled by calling (734) 998-8119 or by TTY at (734) 998-8121.

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