Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a cochlear implant?

The cochlear implant is a two-part electronic listening device for the profoundly hearing impaired that has revolutionized the treatment of deafness. Operating differently than a hearing aid, which amplifies sound in the outer ear, the cochlear implant bypasses the external and middle ear and delivers sound information directly to the hearing nerve.

Three types of cochlear implants are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Texas Children’s is authorized to implant all three to treat children with profound hearing loss. The devices are manufactured by three companies:

  • Advanced Bionics
  • Cochlear Ltd.
  • MED-EL

These different devices are used according to each child's needs. Contact Texas Children’s Ear & Hearing Center at 832-822-3250 for more information.

What is the ideal age for a child to receive a cochlear implant?

Since birth to age 5 are the most critical years for language and speech development, the earlier a child receives an implant, the more easily he or she will adapt and begin learning how to interpret auditory information. The earliest a child may receive a cochlear implant in the United States is 12 months. A thorough evaluation by a team of specialists can help determine whether a child is a good candidate for cochlear implantation.

What are the hearing loss requirements for consideration for cochlear implantation?

For a child to be considered for cochlear implantation, he or she must be evaluated for the degree of hearing loss. Through testing, a child must be found to be profoundly deaf, defined as having bilateral sensorineural hearing loss at a “profound” level.

If a child would not be helped by hearing aids or traditional means, he or she may be a candidate for implantation. A thorough assessment by a multidisciplinary team at the Ear & Hearing Center at Texas Children’s will consider factors including genetic and medical history, speech and language abilities and psychosocial and developmental factors.

How can my child apply as a candidate for cochlear implantation?

Contact Jody Haymond via phone at 832-822-3250.