ablogo

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to view the answers.

Why do people get a cochlear implant?

People get a cochlear implant to restore their ability to hear. Adults want to be independent and to feel included instead of isolated. They want take part in conversation, hear their children or grandchildren talk, listen to music or simply listen to the sounds of nature. They want to be confident that they can hear in all listening situations, even in background noise.

Parents want their child to hear the sounds of life. They want to provide their child with the opportunity to learn to listen, talk and communicate freely and independently. They want their child to participate fully in the world of sound.

Are cochlear implants right for me?

If hearing aids are no longer offering you enough benefit, then a cochlear implant might be the solution. AB’s cochlear implant system helps people with severe-to-profound hearing loss go beyond hearing aids and enjoy a complete hearing experience at any stage of life.

Am I a candidate for a cochlear implant?

If hearing aids are no longer offering you enough benefit, you may be a candidate for cochlear implants. Possible indicators include:

  • Having difficulty following conversations without lip-reading.
  • Difficulty following most telephone conversations, especially when the voice is not a familiar one.
  • Feeling isolated and limited, both socially and occupationally, because of hearing loss.
  • A moderate/severe-to-profound hearing loss in both ears
  • Very little/no benefit from hearing aids
  • Difficulties with spoken language

To determine if you are a candidate for a cochlear implant, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted by a team of experts at centres of excellence that offer the Advanced Bionics cochlear implant system. Candidacy for a cochlear implant is evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of professionals: audiologists, rehabilitation specialists, surgeons and other team members, such as psychologists. These team members form part of a cochlear implant unit.

Click here to find out more about the Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit.  

Your cochlear implant team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation. This will assess the type and level of hearing impairment, as well as how well you perform with hearing aids - sometimes recommendations are made for a trial period with more powerful hearing aids. In addition, the audiologist performs speech perception tests to assess an individual's current ability to understand speech using audition alone.

In addition to the hearing evaluation, the assessment includes medical tests such as an MRI. The Cochlear Implant Team will discuss all potential tests and procedures with you.

Is my child a candidate for a cochlear implant?

If your child failed a newborn hearing screening test or still struggles to hear with hearing aids, they may be a candidate for cochlear implants. They may also exhibit a moderate/severe to profound hearing loss in both ears; derive very little/no benefit from hearing aids; and/or have a speech and language delay.

To determine if a child is a candidate for a cochlear implant, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted by a team of experts at centres of excellence that offer the Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant system. Candidacy for a cochlear implant is evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of professionals: audiologists, rehabilitation specialists, surgeons and sometimes other team members, like psychologists. These team members form part of a cochlear implant unit.

Click here to find out more about the Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit.  

Your child’s cochlear implant team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation. This will assess the type and level of hearing impairment, as well as how well your child performs with hearing aids - sometimes recommendations are made for a trial period with more powerful hearing aids. In addition, the audiologist performs speech perception tests to assess your child’s current ability to understand speech using audition alone. With young children, an auditory brainstem evaluation is done while the child is sedated or sleeping naturally.

In addition to the hearing evaluation, the assessment will include medical tests such as an MRI. The Cochlear Implant Team will discuss all potential tests procedures with you.

What are the age limits for a cochlear implant?

Young children can be implanted as young as 10 months of age, depending on their health, the cause of their hearing loss, and other factors. Early implantation provides your child access to hearing voices and speech, which is critical in developing strong language and speech skills.

There is no upper age limit for cochlear implantation.  If you are healthy and able to undergo general anesthetics and the cochlear implant unit has deemed you to be an appropriate candidate you can receive a cochlear implant.

Does my child need to go to a special school?

Your rehabilitation specialist on the cochlear implant team will advise you on the best placement of your child. Certain mainstream schools specialise in including children with cochlear implants, such as Eduplex in Pretoria.

What is the surgery like?

Cochlear implantation is minimally invasive. In most cases, implantation can be done on an outpatient basis. The surgery typically takes three to four hours, and is done under general anesthesia.

What happens after implantation?

Depending on your doctor’s advice, you may be able to go home the same day – others might stay in the hospital overnight. You will be provided with post-implantation guidelines, such as wound care.

Activation of the cochlear implant typically takes place four weeks after implantation, after which you will be able to begin to access the world of sound.

Usually, initial stimulation of the cochlear implant will take place in your audiologist’s office. The audiologist will then create a customised set of listening programmes for your external sound processor.

Follow-up programming and training sessions to improve your hearing performance are typically scheduled in the weeks and months following the initial session. Long-term, adults typically have annual follow-ups; younger children generally require more frequent follow-ups.

Will I receive continual support?

AB believes in putting recipients first. That’s why we offer a whole range of services to ensure you always have the support you need. From our technical support and customer service to our comprehensive warranty and listening resources, we’re here to make the journey to hearing easier every step of the way.

AB will continue to support your journey to hearing with educational resources, outstanding customer service, and support to ensure that you take full advantage of all the world of hearing has to offer.

Your cochlear implant unit will offer you life long support in terms of mapping, device repair and monitoring of your hearing progress.

Click here to find out more about the Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit. 

How will the cost of a cochlear implant system be financed?

Many medical aids pay a portion of the cochlear implant surgery and system. Contact the Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit for more information.

What if I am not based in South Africa?

The Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit has implanted clients from across Africa. We can tailor your initial evaluations in South Africa to take place in a minimum period of 3 to 4 days. We will assist you with arrangements for accommodation and transportation in South Africa. Once the surgery is performed, we will require the patient to stay a minimum of 5 days to ensure proper follow up before they travel back home.