Otolaryngology or ENT (ear, nose, and throat) is the branch of medicine and surgery that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, and head and neck disorders.

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are designed for persons who have severe to profound sensory nerve hearing loss and no longer get benefit from amplification (hearing aids).

The device consists of an implantable portion that sits just under the skin outside the ear. An electrode from the device travels through the drilled mastoid bone into the cochlea (the spiral structure in the inner ear), where the auditory nerve is then directly stimulated. A second, external device, that looks much like a hearing aid, rests behind the patient’s ear. A small magnet sends processed sound via the magnet transdermally where it is received by the implanted device.

The surgery for cochlear implantation is generally performed as an outpatient. The procedure lasts about two and a half hours. After three weeks of wound healing, the device is activated with the help of specially trained audiologists. Several visits with the audiologist are required during the first year to map the device, or program the settings of the implant to the patient’s specific needs.

Since at least the 1970s, cochlear implant technology has been benefiting hearing impaired patients who no longer receive benefit from traditional hearing aids. Over the past several decades, the sound processing technology and surgical procedure have been continually refined.

To find a physician in this specialty, please visit our Physician Directory or dial the United Regional Call-A-Nurse line at (940) 764-8570 or (800) 982-9799.