The cochlear implant is a device for restoration of hearing when a hearing aid is not enough or no hearing exists. It is the only medical technology able to functionally restore a human sense – Hearing. It works differently from a hearing aid in that it does not amplify the sound, but actually replaces the function of hearing by taking in the sound and sending the sound signal to the hearing nerve. The cochlear implant team at UC Irvine has several patents in the design and invention of cochlear implants and have done pioneering surgery in the area. We have had a large number of "super performers" whose performance after surgery is far better than the average cochlear implant users.
Click below to hear some simulations of what a cochlear implant sounds like:
Click below for a video of a recent UC Irvine Cochlear Implant Program Patient.
Click here for a video of cochlear implant surgery by Dr. Djalilian at UC Irvine.
Picture courtesy of Cochlear Ltd.
Young children: 12 months to 17 years
Adults: 18 years and over
The surgery involves an approximately 2-hour procedure with an incision behind the ear. A minimal amount of hair is shaved, which is generally not noticeable with the hair down. Some patients stay overnight in the hospital and are discharged to home the day after surgery after removal of the dressing. The pain is generally minimal after surgery.
Click below for a surgery video
The patients are seen after surgery and once everything is healed (a few weeks after surgery), the programming of the implant begins.
Once you have healed from the surgery, the process of activation and programming of the device begins. The initial activation is done about 1 month after surgery. Follow-up visits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months are required for further fine-tuning of the implant sound quality. After the first year, at least one visit a year is needed to insure best performance or for updates in software. For children, more visits are required for rehabilitation.
You may decide to participate in one of our many clinical research projects for improvement of the quality of the implant. Click here to find out more about the ongoing projects at UC Irvine Cochlear Implant Center.
Once you start hearing with the cochlear implant, the brain needs to learn to understand the sounds that are heard through the implant. Initially, speech sounds differently from the way you used to hear. The process of training the brain to learn the hearing process with the implant is the rehabilitation. While some patients can understand speech well immediately after the initial stimulation and programming, it generally takes some time for the brain to get used to the new way of hearing. The best way to speed up the rehabilitation process is to use the implant during all waking hours of the day. Sometimes, more frequent visits are required for the rehabilitation.
For children, weekly visits are required for speech and language training.
To Make an Appointment with Drs. Djalilian or Lin, Please Call 714-456-7017 or click here to request an appointment via the web.