Which cochlear implant is the right device for me?
This is a question to ask both the surgeon and the audiologist. The audiologist will likely have more time to spend with you talking about the device. The Adventist Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Program offers implants from the two implant manufacturers: Cochlear Corporation and Advanced Bionics. The surgeon and audiologist of the Adventist Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Program will not recommend a specific device for you, but will instead explain the features of each.
The audiologist will have "dummy" models for you to see and handle. The external processor will be with you day in and day out, so make sure you are comfortable with the technology's look, feel and function.
Overall hearing results in a testing situation are similar with each of the cochlear implant systems approved for sale in the United States. Some factors to consider include processing strategies, battery life, type of batteries used, customer service provided by the companies, and warranty.
Will my child still be able to use a hearing aid in the other ear?
If the opposite ear is able to hear somewhat, a hearing aid worn opposite a cochlear implant can provide important sound cues and enhance sound quality. The Adventist Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Program recommends that your child try using a hearing aid in the other ear only after a period of adapting to the cochlear implant. Your audiologist will recommend a timetable to maximize getting used to the new implant and when to start using the hearing aid and implant together.
Will insurance cover the procedure and device?
Cochlear implants are approved devices that have been shown to be safe and effective for individuals with advanced levels of sensorineural hearing loss. Most private insurance policies or health plans provide full or partial coverage for cochlear implants. Additionally, Medicare, the Veterans Administration, and Tri Care provide coverage.
The Adventist Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Program will assist you with insurance matters. If your efforts in gaining insurance coverage have been unsuccessful, the manufacturer of the cochlear implant you have chosen can provide assistance. Implant companies employ reimbursement specialists to help you determine the extent of coverage provided by your plan. Where necessary, they can help you gain pre authorization for the procedure.
Should I wait for newer technology for my child?
Each cochlear implant manufacturer used by the Adventist Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implant Team has designed their products so that your child can benefit from new technological innovations without the need for additional surgery. Specifically, the internal device of each manufacturer has tremendous processing power and programming flexibility to handle technology advancements that are not available today. As the technology improves, the internal device can be reprogrammed with a software upgrade performed through the external device.
Questions Regarding Surgery
How long will my child be in the hospital?
Cochlear implantation is performed as an outpatient procedure. That is, your child will go home the same day of surgery in most cases. Some factors that cause a child to stay over night in the hospital include extreme nausea, dizziness or other medical factors. Nearly all children will go home the same day of surgery.
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours and is done under general anesthesia. A small portion of hair is shaved in the area behind the ear. The receiver is embedded under the skin behind the ear and the electrodes are placed in the inner ear (cochlea).
How will my child feel after surgery?
As with any surgery, children may react differently to the anesthesia. Children may experience some nausea, dizziness and pain for a few days after surgery.
What is the chance of device failure of the internal implant?
Since you are making a decision that will impact your life for a long time, the long term reliability of the internal device is an important consideration in choosing your cochlear implant. Overall, cochlear implants are very reliable. However, reliability does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is important that you investigate this as part of the CI decisions by discussing it with your surgeon or audiologist or by contacting the manufacturers.
Will my child need to keep water out of my ear canal after surgery?
Unless your doctor tells you that you should keep water out of your ear canal, the answer is NO. The vast majority of cochlear implant surgery is performed behind the ear. So, the ear canal or ear drum are not damaged during surgery. In rare cases, the ear canal itself will be involved with the insertion of the cochlear implant. If the ear canal is involved, the doctor will let you know to keep water out of the ear canal.
Adventist Paulson Pediatric Rehab
222 E. Ogden Avenue
Hinsdale, IL 60521