The Cochlear Implant Program
Providing Advanced Hearing Technology and Expert Care
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that provides meaningful sound information to people who receive limited benefit from hearing aids. Stony Brook Medicine is one of the few medical centers in the region that performs cochlear implantation.
The Stony Brook Cochlear Implant Team
David Schessel, MD, PhD, is board certified in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Neuro-Otology and Skull Base Surgery. He has been in academic practice specializing in diseases related to the ear for over twenty years. He has worked extensively with cochlear implants and implantation surgery in adults and children throughout his career. The Audiologists have more than 30 years of combined experience with preoperative and postoperative cochlear implant assessments and programming. The Speech-Language Pathologists attend specific educational courses and training to gain the additional skills necessary to perform cochlear implant evaluations and therapy.
How do we hear normally?
Sound waves travel into the ear canal and vibrate the ear drum, middle ear bones (ossicles) and inner ear. The cochlea is a snail shaped part of the inner ear that contains thousands of tiny hair cells. The hair cells change the vibrations into signals that stimulate the hearing nerve and send impulses to the brain for it to become meaningful sound.
How does a cochlear implant work?
Damage to the tiny cochlea hair cells will cause a disruption in the transmission of the signals to the auditory nerve. The resulting hearing loss is called a sensorineural hearing loss. The cochlear implant is designed to compensate for the damaged cochlea hair cells and stimulate the auditory nerve directly.
The cochlear implant system has two components:
The microphone captures incoming sound and sends it to the speech processor, where it is translated into a distinctive electrical code. The coded information is then transmitted across the skin to the receiver and electrode array. The electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve fibers, causing electrical impulses to be delivered to the brain, where they are interpreted as meaningful sound.
Who can benefit from a cochlear implant?
Adults and Children who have:
What is the Hybrid Cochlear Implant?
This implant is for adults with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in the high frequencies and normal to moderate hearing in the low frequencies.The hybrid amplifies the low frequencies similar to a hearing aid, however the high frequencies are stimulated electrically like a traditional cochlear implant. The hybrid is designed to preserve the natural acoustic sound and improve the high frequency hearing to near normal levels.
What happens before the surgery?
The Audiologist will evaluate the hearing with and without hearing aids. Dr. Schessel will perform a medical evaluation that may include an X-ray and blood work. Most children and some adults receive a speech and language evaluation. These tests determine if candidacy criterion is met. However, there are many factors that need to be considered when making the decision to go ahead with cochlear implantation. Each member on the Team will guide potential recipients through every aspect of the decision.
What can I expect from the surgery?
What follow-up is necessary?
How much will my hearing improve after the implant?
Will my insurance cover the procedure?
How do I make an appointment?