Preoperative CI Assessment in Adults

Given the unparalleled range of high-quality hearing aids, implantable hearing systems (middle ear implants, direct acoustic cochlear stimulators, etc.) and cochlear implants available at MHH’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology, it is vital to bear in mind that it is possible to achieve good speech understanding in background noise with today’s state-of-the-art auditory systems. It is on the basis of our thorough diagnostics that we recommend the hearing system we feel is right for you.

It is therefore crucial to conduct hearing tests, among other differential diagnostic procedures, which stand comparison with already implanted patients.

We perform these audiological differential diagnostic procedures during the first one-day assessment on an outpatient basis, and give a sound recommendation as to whether or not implantation (especially cochlear implantation) is possible. After this first assessment and consultation, the patient will be in a position to choose a cochlear implant.

As a rule, children suffering from hearing loss in both ears undergo bilateral cochlear implantation. This can also be recommended for adults with bilateral severe to profound hearing loss or deafness. If the hearing loss is unilateral, cochlear implants are now a good alternative to systems with contralateral routing of signals (CROS). Special implants are also available for individuals with high-frequency hearing.

As soon as you have decided to undergo cochlear implantation, please let us know

(Fax: +49-511-532-6833; Tel.: Mon – Fri +49-511-532-3044; Post: German Hearing Center, Karl-Wiechert-Allee 3, 30625 Hannover, Germany, or email: info@hoerzentrum-hannover.de). We will send you a date for your surgery.

At the end of the preoperative assessment, a final meeting will be held with Professor Thomas Lenarz (Director of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology) or his deputy. All evaluations and findings – including those obtained elsewhere (or earlier) – will be reviewed and taken into consideration for the overall assessment. A decision regarding further action (e. g. cochlear implantation) will be reached in conjunction with you. This does not mean that you have to decide straight away, but we will clearly state whether or not we feel cochlear implantation is a viable option for you. Of course, the final decision is up to you. It is our duty to tell you, on the basis of our extensive preoperative assessment, what the prospects are of your developing optimally enhanced hearing with a cochlear implant. If unresolved questions remain, further examinations may be necessary or additional external documents or findings may have to be obtained. A new outpatient appointment in our department may then be necessary. However, this is the exception and not the rule.

When we have established that – based on anatomical and medical criteria – cochlear implantation can go ahead, the surgery is performed after the final assessment. The operation is carried out under general anaesthetic and usually takes around 2-3 hours. An X-ray verifies that the electrode is correctly positioned in the inner ear. We always take the greatest care to ensure that the inner ear structures are protected and preserved.

Hearing loss acquired after meningitis usually necessitates immediate bilateral implantation before meningitis-induced ossification of the cochlea sets in.

Lifelong follow-up medical examinations carried out by ENT specialists are necessary to detect and treat typical complications, such as local swelling and skin irritation under the magnet or injuries of the ear canal and eardrum, as soon as possible.