Cochlear implants are recommended for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss who cannot be helped by hearing aids. These implants are not appropriate for everybody. You must meet certain guidelines to be declared a cochlear implant candidate.
Who Is a Candidate for Cochlear Implants?
Cochlear implant candidacy has expanded significantly since the devices were first introduced in 1985. Initially, patients were required to have bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and no aided speech recognition abilities.
As technology has improved and our understanding of how the brain processes sound changes, there has been more leeway in the candidacy guidelines. Today, patients with lesser degrees of hearing loss and higher speech recognition scores may be eligible for cochlear implants. In addition, the age requirement for pediatric patients has been lowered to 9 months.
How Are Cochlear Implant Candidates Selected?
In order to determine whether you are a candidate for cochlear implants, you’ll have to meet a specified list of criteria. You should have a significant hearing loss, and receive limited improvement from hearing aids.
A thorough examination by an otolaryngologist is required, and may include a CT scan or MRI to ensure you will benefit from a cochlear implant. You’ll be given a series of hearing and psychological tests, and will undergo counseling to make sure you have reasonable expectations for your post-surgery results. Criteria may vary for children.