Maryland and DC’s Cochlear Implant Specialists

All around the world, millions of people of all ages are affected by hearing loss. Hearing aids are often the best solution for overcoming hearing challenges, but under certain circumstances, they do not provide enough help.

Whenever hearing aids cannot adequately address hearing loss, audiologists turn to cochlear implants (CIs). Regardless of whether a patient has single-sided deafness (unilateral) or a moderate-to-profound hearing loss in both ears (bilateral), CIs are able to provide greater access to speech information for children and adults.

We are dedicated to providing a better hearing solution to every patient in the Maryland and DC communities we serve. Our team of audiologists at Audiology Associates provides access to the latest in cochlear implant technology to facilitate better communication and an enhanced quality of life for those who need them.

Hearing doctor demonstrating how cochlear hearing implants are fitted

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“My father has had nothing but a positive experience through audiology associates. He has been able to ask questions about his treatment and he is able to understand what he is supposed to be looking out for and doing to make sure that he is adjusting his devices properly. I am very happy with the service he receives. From the person who answers the phone, to the one who is checking him into the office for his appointments, everyone is patient with him. Thank you to all of the staff there for making my dad feel comfortable during a time when he was very nervous about his hearing loss. We appreciate you”

Tanya Berry

Cochlear Implant Technology

Although they have been around for 50 years, with FDA approval in the 1970s, most people are unaware of how cochlear Implants work. Cochlear Implants were designed to improve speech clarity for individuals who can no longer benefit from traditional hearing aids.

Although they do not cure hearing loss, cochlear Implants are a viable solution to replace hearing aids or enhance the benefits they provide. Like other electronic devices, such as cell phones and hearing aids, innovations in digital technology have had a significant impact on the performance capabilities of cochlear implant technology.

Cochlear Implants bypass the damage in the cochlea (hearing organ) in order to transmit electrical stimulation directly to the auditory nerve. They are capable of compensating for damage in the inner ear due to age deterioration, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), a birth defect, or other cause. They are made up of two separate components: an internal electrode array and an external sound processor.

The internal electrode array is inserted directly into the cochlea during a surgical procedure performed by a neurotologist. The external sound processor is worn on the ear, and includes microphones, which detects speech and other sounds in the external environment. Once the sound is detected, the sound processor analyzes the signal and sends the information to the internal electrode array and then the auditory nerve. The nerve then sends the information to the brain, which interprets it as meaningful sound.

Cochlear Implant Questions to Ask

PLACEHOLDER
What is meant by the term “bi-modal fitting”?
Patients who receive a CI may also have a hearing loss in the other ear that requires a hearing aid. A bi-modal fitting involves the use of a hearing aid in one ear and a CI in the other. Thanks to innovations in hearing instrument technology and connectivity, the two devices are able to communicate with each other to maximize hearing potential.
Who qualifies for a CI?
CIs best serve patients with a moderate-to-profound hearing loss or single-sided deafness that have difficulty understanding speech and conversation with a traditional hearing aid(s). It is often used as an intervention for children with a severe to profound hearing loss in order to ensure proper speech, but CIs can also benefit adolescents and adults who require additional help with their hearing.
How do they do CI surgery?
CI surgery involves making a small incision behind the ear, followed by drilling to the cochlea (hearing organ) and then threading the electrode into the cochlea. The other part of the interal electrode array is then tucked under the skin. The surgical team then runs tests to measure the response of the implant before closing the incision.
What are the risks of CI surgery?
In general, the majority of CI procedures include few, if any, complications and require only one day in the hospital. Due to the use of general anesthesia, a patient’s medical history and the possibility of complications are considered before the surgery is carried out.
Will I have to have more surgeries when new technology becomes available?
The internal electrode array is the only component that requires a surgical procedure and it is not replaced with updates in technology. The external sound processor is easily removed and replaced, allowing for a technology upgrade.
Are people with CIs able to swim, shower, and remain active?
Patients with CIs continue to enjoy an active lifestyle with few limitations, such as scuba and sky diving. By simply removing the external processor, which contains the electronic components that do not react with water, and using protective headgear during aggressive physical activities, those with CIs are free to be active and independent.
How long after surgery can I use my CI?
Your CI will be activated within three to six weeks after surgery. Once activation is completed, the user learns to process the new information from the CI through listening practice.
Are cochlear implants covered by Medicare and private insurance?
Most private insurance companies and Medicare cover FDA approved cochlear implants for individuals under the age of 21, but coverage may include adults within some insurance policies.

Do You Qualify for Cochlear Implants?

If you’re experiencing a severe to profound hearing loss and hearing aids alone are not an adequate solution to address your needs, then a cochlear implant could be the best solution to help improve speech and language development.

Audiology Associates makes electronic implant technology available to qualifying individuals throughout Maryland and DC.

If you are interested in learning more about cochlear implants, or if you or a loved one wants to know if you qualify, then submit the adjacent form and our specialist will contact you.

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