Rejoin the conversation

Hearing loss can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. The inability to carry on a conversation with family and friends can lead to a helpless feeling of isolation.

For the vast majority of the population, hearing loss is part of the natural aging process. In some cases, a person can have a higher frequency hearing loss that may progress to the point where hearing aids are no longer helpful because they do not provide enough amplification. Cochlear implants for adults are able to restore hearing and give back the gift of communication.

Washington University otolaryngologist Jonathan McJunkin, MD, explains, “A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of the damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

During surgery we implant the internal device (an electrode array) into the cochlea. About two weeks after surgery we attach the external device, which looks like a hearing aid. This contains the speech processing acoustic hardware and sends the signal to the internal device.”

Washington University has an excellent team of audiologists dedicated specifically to rehabilitating patients with cochlear implants. Along with the rehabilitation, there is extensive pre-operative and post-operative counseling.

Much of the success of the cochlear implant relies on the patient’s neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to be flexible and learn how to interpret the new signal it’s getting from the implant.

The Washington University team of audiologists is very good at determining if a patient is lagging behind in the rehabilitation process. As a result, the success rate for cochlear implants to restore hearing to patients is close to 100%.

If you or someone you know is living with hearing loss and would like more information about cochlear implants for adults, Washington University Physicians see patients at two convenient locations:

Center for Advanced Medicine, Ear, Nose and Throat Center
4921 Parkview Place, 11th floor, Suite A

West County ENT
605 Old Ballas Road, Suite 124