Who should consider a Cochlear Implant?

In this video, CNC Hearing Neurotologist Moises Arriaga explains when a patient’s hearing loss is severe enough to consider a Cochlear Implant.

Edited transcript:

What gets me to send you to my audiologists to see if you meet the criteria is: Have you tried hearing aids and are hearing aids no longer enough?
The new horizon is single-sided deafness and it’s becoming very clear that if you lose all your hearing on one side, a Cochlear implant will do two things for you, even if you have normal hearing on the other side. One is, it’ll help you know where sound is coming from. We call that localization. Two is, it will make speech a lot clearer.

This is an X-ray of what it looks like after we put it in. This is more of our surgeons view because we have you laying on your back and your head turned. And so the way the wire goes in is through a little space in that Fashion. Here are the internal components. This device it’s about the size of my thumb, but it’s very narrow.

It’s like a flat thumb if you will, and then there are two electrodes. One is a grounding electrode. It’s one that goes in the inner ear. There are two ways you can use the processor: One is like a hearing aid or the other is you can do it in this fashion. And there are different advantages in terms of battery lasting and localization and how strong it sticks.
What’s involved in the surgery? It’s a cut behind the ear. We go in with an incision behind the ear, pretty concealed. And then we tunnel underneath. We place that device that’s about the size of my thumb under that muscle right there. And then we create a space. For the wire to go through and then we get into where the inner ear is and we create a special space called the facial recess, where we sneak between the face, nerve and the eardrum. And with the microscope, we’re able to gently get that electrode in.
So it’s possible with what we call soft surgery techniques to delicately enter. The inner ear instead of drilling into it to sneak into a natural membrane called the round window, and that strategy with special devices. I happen to like one of the cochlear devices, called 622, but with special electrodes, you can save hearing in 85% of people who have digital hearing so you can do something called a hybrid situation where people have natural hearing at the low pitches and electronic hearing at the high pitches.
Risks – They’re rare, but you always worry about problems like anesthesia issues or bleeding or infection or some. Unusual reaction. All right, so my point is, is that these things have gone a long way.