The Cochlear Implant Center at St. Luke's Hospital
We are dedicated to helping adults and children with medical and surgical problems related to the ear, with a focus on the evaluation and treatment of otologic and neurotologic disorders.
This includes disorders like hearing loss, dizziness, facial paralysis and tumors of the skull base such as acoustic neuromas. We are a nationally-recognized center and one of the busiest in the Midwest, implanting over 200 adults and children with cochlear implants a year. St Luke's was also the pioneer in implanting the first 9 month old in the region with a cochlear implant in 2005. Our team of expert surgeons are neurotology fellowship trained, board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and Neurotology, and are nationally recognized as leaders in this field. We are the trusted resource for cochlear implant services in the St. Louis region and beyond.
Statistics and Common Causes of Hearing Loss
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Common causes of hearing loss include:
- Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.
- Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69, with the severity of hearing loss in the 60 to 69 age group.
- About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
- 1 in 8 people in the United Staes (13% or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
- Abnormalities of the middle ear bones
- Certain medications
- Developmental abnormalities
- Excessive earwax
- Fluid or blood behind the ear drum
- Inner ear infections
- Narrowing of the ear canal due to inflammation or bony growths
- Noise exposure
- Outer ear deformities
- Torn or damaged ear drum
- Sudden hearing loss
- Disorders of the inner ear such as Meniere's Disease
- Head trauma
- Automimmune diseases and neurological disorders
Hearing loss not only causes people to withdraw socially, it can also cause other symptoms that may interfere with your quality of life. Current studies have shown that hearing loss is a direct correlation with dementia in the elderly. It has also been shown that early intervention with hearing loss can slow the course of cognitive decline. According to the NIDCD, adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than 1 in 3 (30%) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16%) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them. Some common symptoms of hearing loss can include:
What Is a Cochlear Implant?
- Pain in one or both ears
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Pressure or fullness in one or both ears
- Dizziness or vertigo
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.
How Does a Cochlear Implant Work?
A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound. Although cochlear implants do not restore natural hearing, over time most individuals with implants achieve significant gains in speech understanding and sound awareness.
Cochlear implants are covered under most insurance policies, including Medicare. We can assist in determining what is covered under each insurance plan.
To connect with a physician at our Center, please call our Physician Referral Service at 314-205-6060.