Should My Child Have a Cochlear Implant?

Pediatric Implant Evaluation

We have a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation for a cochlear implant. Our team consists of:

  • Pediatric otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor, or ENT)
  • Pediatric audiologist (hearing specialist)
  • Pediatric speech-language pathologist
  • Social worker

After a physician provides a referral, the first step in the evaluation process is for the parent or guardian to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, who will perform an initial consultation. This visit will involve a thorough explanation of the available implant systems and counseling on the process. The provider will work with you to schedule a second appointment with an audiologist for testing.

If your child appears to be a cochlear implant candidate, we will help coordinate the following:

  • A computed Tomography (CT scan) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation(s) to determine the structure of the inner ears.
  • An initial consultation with an ENT surgeon after initial audiological and radiological studies have been completed. At this appointment providers will evaluate your child’s overall health. A detailed ear evaluation will also take place. Results of imaging tests such as CTs and MRIs will also be reviewed.
  • Additional testing as needed, such as psychological, cognitive, and speech-language pathology testing. Your child’s ENT surgeon will decide what other testing should take place.
  • Audiological testing as needed once a specific device has been chosen.

Children between the ages of 12 months and 18 months who have profound hearing loss in both ears and who receive little benefit from hearing aids are candidates. Children 18 months to 17 years who have severe to profound hearing loss in both ears and receive little to no benefit from hearing aids are also candidates. Although these are general guidelines, each child receives a thorough and individualized evaluation to determine candidacy.

Each member of our team will meet with you and your child to evaluate him and to answer your questions concerning the implantation process. You and your family are part of our team and we want you to be well-informed. Enrollment in an auditory training program is required before your child can be scheduled for a team evaluation.

If your child is a candidate for the cochlear implant and your insurance company has given prior approval, you an your ENT surgeon will schedule the surgery. Most insurance policies as well as Medicaid cover cochlear implantation. Our insurance specialists will work to secure written confirmation that your plan covers the device and procedures. You may be responsible for a portion of the costs. Depending on your benefits, you may need to meet a deductible. If you have any questions about insurance coverage, please contact us.