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Cochlear Implantation and Rehabilitation

The treatment of deafness has changed dramatically in the past few decades. Technological advancements have allowed otologists and audiologists to offer an increasing choice of options for improvement of hearing. First among these improvements is a treatment called cochlear implantation, which helps restore hearing for those with severe or total hearing loss.

The cochlear implant is a small electronic device that does the work of the damaged inner ear. Unlike a hearing aid, which amplifies sound, the cochlear implant actually takes in the sound and then sends the sound signals to the brain.

Although cochlear implants do not restore or create normal hearing, they provide a sense of sound. Cochlear implants help patients to interpret the sounds in our environment and understand speech. Most totally deaf patients who receive cochlear implants are able to detect medium to loud sounds, including speech at comfortable listening levels. For many patients, implants aid in communication by improving lip-reading ability. For some, the implant even provides some understanding of words or sentences without the use of lip-reading.

Most patients feel that the cochlear implant has a positive effect on their relationships, work, and daily life.

Dr. Lustig discusses how loss of hair cells causes hearing loss, and how cochlear implants can help.

Our Cochlear Implant Team

The cochlear implant program in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery includes scientists, health professionals, and support staff.

  • Our team of scientists are on the cutting edge of cochlear implant research and improvement.
  • Our surgeons and clinical and rehabilitative audiologists have extensive experience in cochlear implantation and post-surgical rehabilitation.
  • Our Education Specialist: Mary Baumont, MS

With our program of speech therapy and training in listening, language and speech-reading skills, we will help you make the most of your cochlear implant. 

Learn more about cochlear implants at Columbia