Cochlear Implant Program

Cochlear Implant Program

The OHSU Cochlear Implant program works with you, the patient, to develop the best approach to treating your hearing loss. Our staff is dedicated to providing each patient with the best possible care and continuing assistance. We are the largest center for Cochlear Implants in the Northwest, and strive to provide the best care to each patient. Not everyone is a good candidate for a Cochlear Implant. Read on, or contact us, for more information.

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is a device that provides sound to individuals with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. The implant works by bypassing the damaged structure in the inner ear, and by providing electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve fibers directly. The brain is able to recognize this stimulation is sound.

How is candidacy determined?

To determine if you are a good candidate for a Cochlear Implant, patients are required to participate in a comprehensive evaluation process. The goal of the evaluation is to determine what will provide the best hearing and communication abilities for you or your child. This evaluation is typically spread out over the course of two days. The following steps take place during the evaluation process:

Day 1: Examination by a Cochlear Implant Audiologist

A complete diagnostic audiological evaluation will be completed to determine the type and degree of hearing loss. This also includes speech perception testing with appropriately fitted hearing aids. It is important that you bring your own hearing aids to this evaluation even if you have not been wearing them. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if you are an implant candidate. The audiologist will then review cochlear implants in detail. Realistic expectations will be established regarding patient benefit, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of a cochlear implant. 

 Day 2: Medical Assessment

This medical work-up includes a MRI and CT scan, followed by a consultation with one of our Otologists (ear doctors). The purpose of this evaluation is to determine if you are medically a cochlear implant candidate. 

Once it has been determined that you are a Cochlear Implant candidate, a third appointment will be arranged with a Cochlear Implant Audiologist. At this appointment, further speech perception testing will be performed. In addition, extensive counseling regarding the different Cochlear Implant device choices will take place. The purpose of this meeting is to help you choose which cochlear implant device you will have implanted.

How to make an appointment

 Please contact our office regarding scheduling appointments. Prior to scheduling an appointment, our providers often need to review chart notes related to the reason you want to be seen in order to coordinate any additional tests they may need in order to make the most of your visit.  In some cases, we will require a referral from your primary care physician.  We would be happy to discuss this with you to ensure we have all we need to expedite the scheduling process.  Please contact us by phone or email to begin the process.

Phone: 503 494-5171

email: Cochlear Implant Program (cochlear@ohsu.edu)