Cochlear Implant FAQ

Who is a candidate for a cochlear implant?

The current pediatric candidacy criteria for cochlear implants set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include:

  • Twelve months of age or older.
  • Severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.
  • Little benefit from hearing aids.
  • No medical contraindications.
  • Lack of progress in auditory skill development.

To determine if your child is a candidate for a cochlear implant, a comprehensive evaluation must be completed.

Who are the manufacturers of cochlear implants?

How does a cochlear implant work?

No matter the manufacturer, all cochlear implants basically work the same. Click here for a description of how the implant works.

What is MAPping?

MAPping is the process by which the audiologist determines the amount of electrical stimulation each electrode delivers to the auditory nerve so that the child can respond. MAPs are adjusted over time. Sometimes the MAPing process takes several appointments to ensure correct settings. It is important to see the audiologist as recommended to make sure your child has the most appropriate MAP.

What happens during the initial stimulation or hook up of the cochlear implant?

During the initial stimulation, which occurs a few weeks after surgery, the audiologist will create an initial MAP for the child and discuss in detail how the external equipment works. Children react very differently during this initial stimulation – some cry, some smile and some show little reaction. The audiologist will make sure your child is comfortable when he/she leaves the office.

How often will my child have to see the audiologist once they receive a cochlear implant?

There is not a single schedule for MAPping that every child must follow. During the first year after receiving the implant, children are seen frequently. Generally, children are seen the day of the initial stimulation, two weeks post initial stimulation, one month post stimulation, three months post initial stimulation, six months post stimulation, 12 months post initial stimulation, 18 months post initial stimulation, two years post initial stimulation, and annually thereafter. Of course, some children may need to be seen more often.

What kind of speech-language therapy does my child need?

The individual speech-language therapy needs of children with cochlear implants are specific to each child. However, in general, children need weekly individual therapy sessions that emphasize listening with a cochlear implant and improving their communication skills. Please discuss your child’s specific needs with our speech-language pathologists.

What should I do if I think my child’s cochlear implant equipment is not working?

First, attempt some of the basic troubleshooting procedures listed in your user’s guide. Attempt to determine which part (processor, cable/cord, coil, battery pack/BTE controller or batteries) of your child’s device is not working. You can access specific troubleshooting information on the manufacturers’ Web sites.

Troubleshooting information for specific devices may be found at:
Advanced Bionics
Cochlear 
MED-EL

Who do I call to get help with troubleshooting my child’s cochlear implant equipment, or to whom should I report the broken equipment?

Contact the manufacturer of your child’s cochlear implant. If you continue to require assistance, please call (972) 883-3030 and you will be given information and/or an appointment to see the audiologist if necessary.

Advanced Bionics Customer Service: 877-829-0026
Cochlear Americas Customer Service: 800-523-5798
MED-EL Customer Service: 888-633-3524

Who do I call with insurance questions? Will my insurance cover hardware and batteries related to the cochlear implant?

It is always recommended that you contact your insurance carrier directly for questions related to your specific insurance plan. Our staff is also available to assist you and provide information. Please contact our business office.

What is an FM system?

An FM system is an assistive listening device that helps the user in noisy situations or when the speaker is at a distance. Many children utilize FM systems in educational settings. Please discuss the use of a personal FM receiver with your cochlear implant audiologist.

Are cochlear implants compatible with assistive listening devices?

Yes, cochlear implants are compatible with assistive listening devices. Please discuss your specific questions with your audiologist.