Children's Hospital Colorado
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The Cochlear Implant Program at Children's Hospital Colorado specializes in evaluation, treatment, and speech, language and communication therapy for infants, children, teens and young adults with hearing loss.

Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive care for children with hearing loss who are considering cochlear implantation or have already received a cochlear implant. In addition to providing families with the information they need to make decisions regarding treatment options, we also provide post-surgery support and follow-up care. These services include:

  • Evaluation of hearing and language skills to help determine whether a cochlear implant would be beneficial
  • Family education regarding educational and communication options based on your child’s unique condition and circumstance
  • Cochlear implant candidacy evaluation and discussion regarding surgery
  • Cochlear implant programming (“mapping”), and coordination with speech therapists
  • Ongoing family and educational support to maximize cochlear implant benefit

Our work doesn’t stop once your child receives a cochlear implant – the surgery is just the first part of the journey. After implantation, we provide ongoing support for children and their families in many ways, including audiology evaluations of the device, speech therapy classes and family support.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a device that helps someone who is deaf or hard of hearing hear better. Some people with hearing loss cannot hear because their inner ear is not working correctly. Normally, a person’s inner ear will receive and amplify sound. This amplified sound travels through the auditory nerve where it is turned into signals the brain can understand as sound.

For people who do not have a working inner ear, a simple hearing aid will not help them. A cochlear implant bypasses the inner ear and stimulates the auditory nerve in order to send sound signals directly to the brain.

A cochlear implant has two parts:

  • The speech processor is worn on the ear, on the outside of the body.
  • The cochlear implant is an internal device that’s surgically implanted under the skin behind and above your child’s ear.

The speech processor converts sound into electrical signals. Those signals are sent to the internal cochlear implant. The internal device directly stimulates the auditory nerve, and the brain “reads” the stimulation as sound.

Hearing conditions we treat with cochlear implants

  • Cochlear malformations
  • Congenital hearing loss
  • Progressive hearing loss
  • Hearing loss due to meningitis
  • Single-sided deafness
  • Hearing loss associated with syndromes and other medical conditions, such as:
    • Syndromic genetic hearing loss (Usher syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome)
    • Nonsyndromic genetic hearing loss (connexin 26, connexin 30)
    • Auditory neuropathy and auditory dyssynchrony
    • Nongenetic hearing loss (congenital CMV, postmeningitic)

Our hearing and cochlear implant services

The Children’s Colorado Cochlear Implant Program offers compassionate, comprehensive care to children and young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our program is designed to give each child the tools they need to understand language and communicate effectively.

Many people assume that a cochlear implant will "fix" a child's hearing instantly. Cochlear implantation is a process that does take some time. This process includes hearing loss diagnosis, choosing a cochlear implant, surgery and postsurgical support.

We’re here for your whole family as your child adjusts to life with an implant. Our audiology, speech therapy and family consultants have years of experience guiding families through this transition.

Why Choose Children's Colorado for your child's cochlear implant?

Since the program’s founding in 1998, we’ve treated thousands of children with a wide range of hearing needs. There are many treatment and communication options available for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Choosing the right one for your child can be overwhelming. At Children's Colorado, our pediatric experts have experience with all the options. We look at all aspects of your child's life to help determine if a cochlear implant will offer the best communication outcomes, now and into the future.

If a cochlear implant is not right for your child, we collaborate with your family, early interventionists, speech-language therapists and your child’s school to find the best option. Even if your child does not receive a cochlear implant, we are committed to helping them reach their potential in hearing, learning, communication and life.

Meet the Cochlear Implant Program team

Deciding to pursue cochlear implant surgery is a big step for families. Having an experienced implant surgeon is important, particularly for children with more complex challenges. Our cochlear implant surgeons are experienced pediatric otolaryngologists who specialize in surgeries of the ear, including cochlear implantation. They treat each child as an individual, so you can trust that your child is getting the best care for their specific needs.

Our multidisciplinary team also includes expert pediatric audiologists, speech-language therapists, social workers, deaf and hard-of-hearing educators, and family consultants. We collaborate with other specialists across the hospital, such as eye doctors, developmental pediatricians and neurologists, to treat the whole child.

Because each of our team members have worked with children who use cochlear implants and their families for many years, we can answer all your family’s questions in a way you and your child can easily understand.

Contact us

If you’d like to learn more about the program, call us at 720-777-3981.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Kenny Chan, MD

Kenny Chan, MD

Otolaryngology

Patricia Yoon, MD

Patricia Yoon, MD

Otolaryngology

Brian Herrmann, MD

Brian Herrmann, MD

Otolaryngology

Owen Darr, MD

Owen Darr, MD

Otolaryngology

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