A cochlear implant evaluation may be recommended to you if your hearing test indicates a moderate to severe hearing loss in one or both ears and word recognition is 50% or less. The cochlear implant evaluation serves to further assess your hearing function and helps to determine what treatment option is best suited for your hearing needs.
During a cochlear implant evaluation, the audiologist will first gather information from you regarding the onset and progression of your hearing loss, history of hearing aid use and impact the hearing loss has on your communication and quality of life. Then they will program a set of loaner hearing aids to your most recent hearing test so no need to be concerned if your hearing aids are not working properly or several years old. By using a set of loaner hearing aids, the audiologist is able to to rule out any factors related to the hearing aids themselves that may be impacting your function (i.e, old technology, under amplified settings etc.). You will then wear the hearing aids and listen to recorded sentences and words presented in a sound booth. The audiologist will ask you to repeat back the sentences and words to the best of your ability. This testing may be done in a quiet environment or there be some background noise to simulate a restaurant or similar situation.
The results of this evaluation indicate whether hearing aids may still benefit you or whether a cochlear implant is a better option to obtain speech clarity. In the event the results suggest hearing aids are still a good option then the audiologist will provide a recommendation to either purchase new hearing aids or suggest ways to adjust your current hearing aids to improve your communication abilities.
If the results indicate you would achieve better speech clarity from a cochlear implant, then the audiologist will provide in depth information regarding what a cochlear implant is and how it works. Information regarding next steps, including imaging studies and device selection, will be provided and a follow up appointment will be scheduled.
If you are unsure if you are a candidate for a cochlear implant or are struggling with your current hearing aids give our office a call for further information.