Cochlear Implant system
Designed for people with a profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from hearing aids, the cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device that stimulates the auditory nerve with electrical signals that the brain can interpret as sound.
The device is comprised of two main components:
- The external processor, microphone and battery.
- The surgically-implanted internal receiver with electrodes in the cochlea.
Above: Typical cochlear implant system - Seen above a child's left ear.
Currently, three manufacturers make Cochlear Implants for sale in the US:
- Med-El Corporation
- Cochlear Corporation
- Advanced Bionics
How a cochlear implant works
(Cochlear Corporation). House Research Institute supports the use of cochlear implant systems but does not endorse any particular product as the only available option. Videos are for demonstration purposes only.
In His Own Words
Casey describes how his cochlear implant works. House Research Institute supports the use of cochlear implant systems but does not endorse any particular product as the only available option. Videos are for demonstration purposes only.
First Pediatric Cochlear Implant
In 1980, the House Ear Institute (now House Research Institute) became the first center in the world to implant a pre-school-aged child with a single-channel cochlear implant.
Click on a panel below to learn more about a Cochlear Implant.
If you (or your child) has a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and don't get much benefit from hearing aids, you might be a candidate for a cochlear implant. This means a hearing loss in both ears of greater than 70 dB and poor speech discrimination (less than 50% correct on a sentence recognition test) in the better-hearing ear. To determine whether you are a candidate, you'll have to have a complete evaluation, including hearing tests and a CT or MRI scan of the ear.
Children as young as 12 months of age can receive a cochlear implant, usually after a 3- to 6-month trial with hearing aids in both ears and intensive auditory training. It's important to ensure that hearing aids aren't able to provide the child the same level of benefit as an implant.
The House Clinic, routinely performs cochlear implant surgery. It's done using general anesthesia, but can be performed as an outpatient procedure or may require a night in the hospital. If you are a candidate for bilateral cochlear implants (implants on both sides), the implantation surgery may be performed for both ears at the same time. Some people receive a cochlear implant in one ear and then later choose to have the other side implanted as well.
- 1961: William F. House, M.D., brother of Howard P. House, M.D., implants two patients with single gold electrodes for short-term stimulation of hearing. A third patient receives a multi-electrode implant.
- 1965 Dr. William E. House teams up with engineer Jack Urban to develop the cochlear implant system for long-term use.
- 1972: Dr. William F. House implants the first single-channel platinum electrode induction coil system, which becomes the prototype for the cochlear implant device.
- 1972: The first take-home wearable signal processor is developed at House Research Institute by William F. House, M.D., and engineer Jack Urban.
- 1973 Dr. William F. House begins clinical trials on the single-channel cochlear implant and initiates diagnostic, evaluative and training procedures. Five adult patients are implanted.
- 1980: We receive FDA approval to conduct a clinical trial to implant three patients under the age of 18 with the single-channel cochlear implant developed at HEI.
- 1981: The House Ear Institute becomes the first center in the world to implant a pre-school-aged child with a single-channel cochlear implant.
- 1989: HEI is the first center in the U.S. to implant a young child (age 5) with a multi-channel cochlear implant.
Click here for photos and more House Research Institute history
Click here for youtube videos of the first cochlear implant patient (part I).
Visit www.youtube.com/houseear for more videos.