What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a prosthetic device that may enable a severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf individual to experience useful hearing. The technology for this prosthetic device involves a surgical procedure that implants electrode(s) into the inner ear.

How does it work?
After the surgical procedure is completed, there are up to 22 electrodes (the number of electrodes depends on the device chosen) in the inner ear and a "pedestal" attached to the head. The "pedestal" is the contact point for the electrodes. A processor, worn outside the body, is programmed to accept sound through a microphone and create electrical signals that are transmitted through the "pedestal" to the electrodes. The activated electrodes send signals to the auditory nerve which are translated by the brain.

What does it cost?
The total cost of the cochlear implant which includes equipment, surgery, and limited rehabilitation is between $20,000 and $40,000. Health insurance companies may pay for part or all of the cost depending on the plan. Many health insurance companies do not reimburse for cochlear implants at all.

What are the potential benefits?
The benefit varies from person to person, and may include, for example:

  • increased sound awareness
  • easier speech reading
  • possibilities for some use of phone
  • improved speech management
  • increased sense of independence

What are the potential risks?

  • general medical risks from surgery involving general anesthesia
  • loss of residual hearing in implanted ear
  • no guarantee of noticeable hearing improvement

For more information about cochlear implants, please contact the following:

Advanced Bionics Corporation (Clarion)
12740 San Fernando Road
Sylmar, CA 91342-1342
800-678-3575 TTY
800-678-2575 Voice
818-362-7588 Voice
818-362-5069 Fax

Children's Hospital Department of Otolaryngology & Communication Disorders
300 Longwood Avenue
Fegan 9
Boston, MA 02115
617-355-6603 TTY
617-355-6417 Voice
617-355-8041 Fax
Email: orl@a1.tch.harvard.edu

Clarke School for the Deaf
Oral Education

47 Round Hill Road
Northampton, MA 01060
413-584-3450 TTY/Voice
413-584-8273 Fax

Cochlear Corporation (Nucleus 22)
61 Inverness Drive East
Suite 200
Englewood, CO 80112
800-523-5798 Voice
800-483-3123 TTY
303-792-9025 Fax

Cochlear Implant Association, Inc.
The Minuteman Implant Club
30 North Street, #2
Ware, MA 01082-1061

House Ear Institute
2100 W. Third Street, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90057
213-484-2642 TTY
213-483-0112 TTY
213-483-4431 Voice
213-483-8789 Fax

Lahey Clinic
41 Mall Road
Burlington, MA 01805
781-744-5211 TTY
781-273-8679 Voice
781-744-2528 Voice
781-744-3440 Fax

Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary (MEEI)
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
617-573-4047 TTY/Voice
617-573-3023 Fax

Minuteman Implant Club, Inc.
209 Rolling Ridge Road
Amherst, MA 01002-1432
Voice: 413-549-4108
Email: orloff209@comcast.net

Med-EL Corp.
P.O. Box 14183
2222 East NC Highway 54 Suite B180
Durham, NC 27713
888-MED-EL-CI TTY/Voice
919-572-2222 Voice
919-484-9229 Fax
Email: implants@medelus.com

New England Medical Center, Speech, Language Pathology and Audiology
Department, P.O. Box 823,
750 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02111
617-636-7200 TTY
617-636-5300 Voice
617-636-1479 Fax

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.