Introduction to the Cochlear Implant Program at AH&BC
Arizona Hearing & Balance Center’s cochlear implant program provides comprehensive care and services to both pediatric and adult cochlear implant patients. In order to organize all the care we assign each new patient to our Cochlear Implant Coordinator (CI Coordinator). The CI Coordinator will expedite all authorizations for surgery and schedule the patient for candidacy evaluations, surgery, follow-up appointments with the physician and programming appointments with the audiologists.
The CI Coordinator is there to coordinate and expedite all services, communication, and concerns so that the patient and family’s experience can be one of satisfaction and success. In addition to our inter-office services, the CI Coordinator will educate and assist in the introduction to community resources and opportunities for our cochlear implant patients.
Our cochlear implant center offers a full range of cochlear implant services for children and adults, from the initial evaluation through programming the device following surgery. Cochlear implantation is a process which involves much diagnostic testing, counseling, and adjustment to the device. A cochlear implant evaluation will determine if the patient is a candidate for a cochlear implant by comparing test scores to guidelines set by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for cochlear implant candidacy. Once a patient is deemed a candidate, the audiologist will discuss all possible device options and counsel the patient on what to expect in the months following surgery. After the healing period, the device is activated and programming begins. Programming sessions are generally 1 hour long. The audiologist and patient work together to create several maps (or programs) for the patient to try. As patients become more accustomed to listening through their implant, fewer adjustments are needed and programming sessions become less frequent. The first year of cochlear implant use is the most labor-intensive and also the most challenging. Learning to listen through a cochlear implant takes time and patience but the long-term benefits can be more than enough to compensate.
Learn More About the Cochlear Implant Devices
There are 3 manufacturers of cochlear implants: Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Corporation, and Med-El. This clinic provides services for all three cochlear implant manufacturers, whether the patient is implanted by Dr. Fucci or at another center. The basic design behind all 3 companies is the same – sound is picked up by a microphone on the external processor, transmitted through the skin via radio frequency, and sent to a bank of electrodes inserted into the cochlea, which in turn stimulate the hearing nerve. The differences between the companies lie in the design of the internal and external portions and in the way that sound is processed prior to stimulation of the auditory nerve.
MRI compatible for .3 and 1.5 Tesla with magnet removal
Rechargeable batteries standard
Newest processor – the Harmony
Newest internal component – HiRes 90K
Please take the time to look through the three companies’ websites. Our job is to help you make an informed decision on which device is best for you.
Information on Implanting Adult Patients
Arizona Hearing and Balance Center currently serves a large adult cochlear implant population from all over Arizona. Our state of the art facility is equipped with the latest technology to effectively program all three devices.
Information on Implanting Pediatric Patients
Pediatric patients are treated by our cochlear implant team, which includes the otologist, audiologists, and speech language pathologists. Our office is fully equipped with state of the art and kid friendly testing supplies to service pediatric cochlear implant patients. Additionally, training and support is given to those involved in their education. We strive to obtain a collaborative relationship with all involved in order to effectively facilitate the child’s development.