Ear, Nose & Throat

Cochlear Implant Benefits

Who can benefit from a cochlear implant?

There are many different factors to consider when determining if you or your child is a candidate for a cochlear implant. At OHSU, our team collectively looks at various medical, audiological, developmental, and psychological factors for each patient to determine if a cochlear implant is a good option. A cochlear implant candidacy evaluation should be considered if you answer yes to one of the categories below. 

Children 12 months to 17 years old

Does your child have:

  • Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears?
  • Receive little to no benefit from hearing aids?
  • Poor progress in development of auditory skills with hearing aids?
  • High motivation, realistic expectations and an understanding of the necessary follow-through for the procedure (both the family and child when appropriate)?
  • Other existing medical problems or conditions that won't interfere with the cochlear implant procedure?

Adults 18 years and older

Do you:

  • Have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears?
  • Receive little to no benefit from appropriately fit hearing aids?
  • Struggle with communication and conversation even when wearing hearing aids?
  • Have difficulty hearing on the telephone even with hearing aids?
  • Have no medical contraindications to surgery?
  • Have a desire to be part of the hearing world?

What are the typical benefits of cochlear implantation?

The benefits a patient can expect vary considerably on a number of factors, including:

  • The degree of hearing loss
  • How old you or your child were when the hearing loss began
  • How long the hearing loss has been present
  • History of hearing aid use prior to implantation
  • Access to sound during the critical language learning period (before age 5)
  • Age at time of implantation
  • The status of the inner ear (cochlea) and the hearing nerve
  • History of meningitis prior to receiving a cochlear implant
  • Motivation and commitment of the recipient and supporting family members

At a minimum, a cochlear implant will provide for the ability to hear and detect the presence of sound. Most patients will hear speech and environmental sound and see an improvement in lipreading skills. many patients will see improvements beyond the minimum, including some understanding of speech without visual cues, and even the ability to use the telephone. It is impossible to predict how well an individual will be able to understand speech after receiving a cochlear implant. For this reason, we continue to research to try to understand why there is such variability in patient performance after implantation.

How to make an appointment

 If you are interested in setting up a cochlear implant consultation, please contact us:

Phone: 503-494-5171

Email: Cochlear Implant Program