How do I get a cochlear implant?

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Dr. Chad Ruffin

ENT Doc and CI Surgeon

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How do I get a cochlear implant?

There are 3 main steps to receiving a cochlear implant:

‍Cochlear implant evaluation

‍Your cochlear implant surgeon will gather your hearing and medical history and examine the ear. The purpose is to ensure that the cochlea is the site of hearing loss and ensure that the cochlea is able to accommodate the electrode. This requires imaging, most often with CT scan or MRI of the ears. Imaging is usually obtained after an audiologist determines that you meet the hearing criteria for a cochlear implant. The purpose of this appointment is also to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo surgery.

An audiologist will ensure that the hearing aid is appropriately programmed. They will also administer a sophisticated series of hearing tests. If the patient meets criteria for a cochlear implant, they will teach the patient all about cochlear implants and what to expect.

If you meet criteria for a cochlear implant during the evaluation process, this means that a cochlear implant is expected to help you hear better than a hearing aid. [See this post][2] for an in-depth discussion about "benefit" and the experiences of other patients with cochlear implants. [2]: Benefits of Cochlear Implants

‍Surgery is a 2-3 hour procedure that involves an incision hidden behind the ear. Bone is removed to gain access to the cochlea. The electrode of the cochlear implant is inserted into the cochlea. We use “soft surgery” techniques to prevent damage to and preserve the structure of the cochlea. Most patients go home after surgery. Those with obstructive sleep apnea stay overnight in the hospital.

‍Learning to use the implant.

Most patients make significant progress in the first 3 to 6 months. However, it takes a year to fully learn to use the implant in quiet. Benefits in noise can occur over a longer period of time.

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Patient Reviews of Chad Ruffin, MD

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Dr. Ruffin was the first person in over 10 years to actually take the time to really listen to me. He took the time to figure out what’s actually going on without chalking it up to something simple and sending me on my way.

Liz H.

I really appreciated Chad's honesty with options, having surgery being a last result and most of all explaining everything in layman's terms. I couldn't be happier with my experience and really appreciate him getting to the bottom of my ear issue and making it feel better than it ever has!

Mathew M.

Dr. Ruffin was incredibly knowledgeable, thorough and compassionate. He took the time to fully understand the issues and was able to provide immediate relief. Nothing short of a miracle here. Furthermore, the entire team was very kind and professional. One of the best medical experiences I have had!

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