Nashville Hearing Aids Audiology Audiologist |

Cochlear Implants

Updates:  Cochlear has announced that the new N6 processor is now FDA approved.  Advanced Bionics has announced that their new Naida processor has been FDA approved.  Please contact  the cochlear implant companies or visit their websites for up to date information.  We have been anxiously awaiting these new processors and the technology they bring to our patients.  For more information, visit www.advancedbionics.com and www.cochlear.com.

Cochlear Implants bring our patients back to the hearing world when hearing aids are not enough.

NENTA has a team of three audiologists and Dr. Mitchell K. Schwaber on our implant team. Nancy Morgan, Au.D., Samantha O'Leary, Au.D. and Donna Schwaber, Au.D evaluate patients' hearing loss and hearing aid performance. We may also investigate balance system function. These tests help us determine cochlear implant candidacy as well as help us decide which ear may be the better one for the cochlear implant.

Dr. Mitchell Schwaber evaluates the patients for medical appropriateness of a cochler implant. If a cochlear implant is needed, Dr. Schwaber will perform the cochlear implant surgery. Drs. Morgan, O'Leary and Donna Schwaber will work with the patient from the initial stimulation through mapping care of the processors.

We use cochlear implants from both Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas.  Our patients often ask which cochlear implant we would select.  Unless there is a design or other reason for a specific needs of a patient, we leave the selection of the cochlear implant to the patient and their family.  During candidacy evaluation the audiologist will explain the surgery, what to expect from a cochlear implant, as well as show the cochlear implants and the external processors from both companies.  

When the decision is made for the cochlear implant, Nashville ENT Audiology will seek authorization from the patient's medical insurance.  We highly recommend that the patient contact their insurance for benefit information prior to the candidacy evaluation.

Are you a candidate for a cochlear implant?

If you are 18 years or older, you may be a candidate for a cochlear implant if:

1. You have severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.

2. You receive little or no useful benefit from hearing aids ( scoring 50 percent or less on
sentence recognition tests in the ear to be implanted and 60 percent or less in the non-implanted ear or bilaterally.

3. It is physically possible to implant the device.

4. Your medical and psychological condition does not present any contraindications for surgery or care and use of the implant.


Success Factors for a Cochlear Implant

It is difficult to accurately predict performance with a cochlear implant, but indicators for success have been reported:

Postlingually deafened adults with a shorter duration of deafness tend to achieve the highest speech perception scores. Consistent hearing aid use help improve benefit of cochlear implant use.

Adults with prelingual, long-term deafness who receive a cochlear implant typically do not develop open-set word recognition abilities, although they do recognize environmental sounds and may develop enhanced speachreading abilities.

Children generally demonstrate significant improvement in closed-set word recognition but obtain limited open-set word recognition abilities. Unlike adults, children's speech perception abilities improve with maturation and increased experience with the device.
Congenitally or prelingually deafened children appear to experience the greatest benefit when implanted prior to age 2.

The CDC has new vaccination requirements (October 2012) for pneumococcal  vaccination in cochlear implant patients:  

Adults (age 19y and older) who have NOT had any prior pneumococcal vaccinations now need one dose of PCV13 followed 8 weeks later by PPSV23 or Pneumovax.  A second dose of the PPSC23 is recommended at five years after the initial dose.  A Pneumovax booster is required at age 65 years as long as it is five years since previous dose.

Adults (age 19y and older) who have had prior vaccination only with PPSC23 or Pneumovax, now also need one dose of PCV13 or Prevnar 13 to be given 1 year or more after their Pneumovax shot. A Pneumovax booster is required at age 65 years. Note: If Pneumovax has been given in the past year, you must wait 12 months to give Prevnar13.  If you had Pneumovax under age 65, a booster is needed after age 65 or five years later.   There should be an eight week minimum after the Prevnar 13 to have another Pneumovax.  

Please consult the CDC website for further information.  You may request these vaccinations from your primary care or from our ENT clinic.