Choose Ohio State for cochlear implant treatment.

Cochlear-image

At Ohio State, our philosophy is simple: provide individuals with quality, state-of-the-art hearing health care services by addressing the comprehensive, individualized needs of each patient. Our comprehensive model is unique and draws on the expertise of our surgeons, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists to fully understand and treat the many factors that determine patient success. Our multidisciplinary team will work with you to set individualized expectations and provide you with resources to specifically meet your most important communication needs. 

Our first adult cochlear implant surgery took place in 1988. Since that time, our physicians have performed hundreds of implant surgeries on adults and children.

Learn more about how Ohio State is leading the way in ENT innovation.


What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is often a good option for patients who are not adequately benefitting from hearing aids due to the severity of their hearing loss. It is different from a hearing aid because it bypasses the damaged cochlea and sends electrical sound signals directly to the auditory (hearing) nerve. 

There are two parts to the device—an internal portion, placed during outpatient surgery, and an external processor, programmed weeks after the surgery. The external processor, which looks much like a large behind-the-ear hearing aid, captures sound from the environment, processes the sound into digital information and then sends this data to the electrode array inside the cochlea.

Although not a cure for hearing loss, cochlear implants can help a person hear more sounds and better understand speech. Both children and adults can benefit with the use of a cochlear implant. If you would like to know if a cochlear implant is the right step for you, contact us to schedule a cochlear implant evaluation with an Ohio State hearing professional.

Cochlear Implant Evaluation

To determine if you are a candidate for a cochlear implant, an audiologist will test your hearing abilities, a speech-language pathologist will evaluate your overall communication abilities, and a surgeon will determine if a cochlear implant is medically appropriate. This is usually completed over two visits to the clinic. A lot of information will be provided to you during those visits; we encourage you to bring close family members or friends to your appointments. 

Please bring your current hearing aids and earmolds with you to your first visit. The audiologist will test your hearing with and without hearing aids. If you do not have hearing aids, or if your current hearing aids are no longer appropriate, we may loan hearing aids to you. It may be necessary for you to wear the loaner hearing aids for a certain period of time before testing can be completed. 

Once your candidacy for a cochlear implant is determined, we will obtain authorization and schedule a surgery date.

The internal cochlear implant array is surgically placed during an outpatient visit to the hospital. The activation of the device is performed approximately four weeks after the surgery.

Cochlear Implant Follow-Up

After your device is activated (about one month after surgery), your audiologist and speech-language pathologist will work with you to determine specific communication goals and develop an individualized plan of care. This care plan typically involves several follow-up appointments with your audiologist (to adjust the external processor) and with your speech-language pathologist (to implement guided listening training). Your team will also work with you so you understand the technology and accessories that can help you get the most out of your cochlear implant. This initial rehabilitation typically occurs over a period of three to four months. After the initial adjustment period, patients are typically seen on an annual basis.

We aim to give you the tools you need to be successful with your cochlear implant and empower you to take steps to improve your communication and quality of life. You will need to practice listening to achieve maximum performance. Many adults we have served have reported enhanced communication and lip-reading abilities and an increased awareness of environmental sounds. With time and practice, many recipients use the phone to some degree and their word recognition ability may improve significantly compared to pre-operative performance with hearing aids.  

Factors that contribute to the success of the implant include length of deafness, cognitive and language skills, medical history, support from family and friends, and patient motivation. Based on the fact that these factors are different for everyone, our multidisciplinary team is specifically designed to individually address how to best meet your needs.

If you would like to know if a cochlear implant is the right step for you, contact us to schedule a cochlear implant evaluation with an Ohio State hearing professional.

Our Cochlear Implant Care Team

BrendaHall

Brenda Hall, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Brenda Hall, AuD, graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree in audiology. She received her doctoral degree from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2010. She has been a member of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery since 1991. Her interests include working with patients with cochlear implants and hearing aids.

MelissaSchnitzspahn

Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from The Ohio State University in 1998 and her master’s degree in audiology from Ohio State in 2000. She obtained her doctoral degree in audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2008. Melissa joined the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery here in 2001, and her interests include hearing aid dispensing and cochlear implants.

LauraFeeney

Laura Feeney, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Laura Feeney, AuD, earned both her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science and her doctoral degree in audiology from The Ohio State University. She has been with the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery since 2007. She is board certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Academy of Audiology.

DebbyLaPrete

Debby LaPrete, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Debby LaPrete, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated from the Arizona School of Health Sciences with her doctoral degree in audiology in 2009. Debby has worked at Ohio State since 1994, and specializes in providing services to recipients of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.

Christy Ray

Christy Ray, PhD

Speech Language Pathologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Christy Ray, PhD, CCC-SLP is an Assistant Professor-Clinical at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. She earned her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University. She currently engages in clinical practice and research with a particular interest in optimizing outcomes of adults with cochlear implants.

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