Pediatric cochlear implants are FDA-approved, surgically implanted devices that enable children with severe hearing loss to process the sounds necessary to develop speech and language. Cochlear implants electrically stimulate the auditory nerve to provide speech sound information when hearing aids are not beneficial. However, they do not function as amplifiers and will not restore normal hearing.
Cochlear implants change acoustical sounds to electrical impulses. The impulses are delivered to the auditory nerve via an electrode array in the cochlea (organ of hearing). An external device, known as the sound processor, sits on the ear and collects sound. This information travels through an external magnet on the head that transmits the sound into an internal device. This internal receiver then converts the signal received from the external speech processor to electrical impulses and stimulates the auditory nerve to send information to the brain.
Implant Candidate Criteria
- Bilateral, severe, sensorineural hearing loss
- Lack of progress in the development of auditory skills with amplification
- Strong family commitment
- Realistic expectations
To be evaluated for a cochlear implant, your child should have:
- Pre-candidacy hearing evaluation and speech recognition testing with and without hearing aids.
- Otologic examination from an otolaryngologist.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) scans and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Other evaluations may be recommended by your Weill Cornell Medicine cochlear implant team.