Cochlear Implants: Adult

Unlike traditional hearing aids, cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are surgically implanted in the inner ear and activated by another device worn outside the ear. They bypass damaged or diseased parts of the ear by directly stimulating the auditory nerve, which is connected to the brain.

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our specialists will perform a cochlear implant evaluation to determine if a cochlear implant is right for you.

What to Expect

On the first visit you will meet Peter Roland, M.D., and your audiologist. You will receive an otological (ear) exam and a comprehensive hearing evaluation, and it will be determined whether you meet the program's admission criteria.

If you meet the criteria for admission, you will be seen at the James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Center as described below:

  1. Initially, you will be scheduled for additional tests with your audiologist at the Aston Clinic. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about cochlear implants and have your questions answered during this two- to three-hour session.
  2. During this time you will have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study. MRI gives Dr. Roland a picture of the cochlea (the inner ear) and hearing nerve to help determine whether you’re a good candidate for implantation and if so, which ear to implant.
  3. A follow-up visit with Dr. Roland is scheduled after your MRI to discuss whether to proceed with the implantation and to answer your questions.
  4. If you decide to proceed, you now finalize which device you’re going to get and the accessories that come with it. A member of the team will assist you, but the final decision is yours.
  5. Surgery is scheduled.
  6. Approximately one month after surgery, allowing time to heal, the outside part of the implant will be "turned on" and a "map" will be created for you. This is done with your audiologist at the Aston Clinic.
  7. These mapping visits continue as needed.