Wednesday, November 22

Interviewing a Cochlear Implant Surgeon

The decision to turn on Drew's hearing was easy. Deciding on a doctor to perform the surgery might be the most difficult. There are so many things to consider when selecting a doctor, including his experience, standard practice of implant surgery and the audiologist/therapist team he works with.

We interviewed our first doctor less than one month after we received the diagnosis. Dr. Daniel Choo of Cincinnati Children's was highly recommended by the audiologist that did the newborn screening at birth and by a friend of mine that worked with him during her doctorate studies at The University of Cincinnati.

We learned that Dr. Choo does believe bilateral implantation provides a child with some benefit, but not enough where he is doing the bilateral implantation at the same time as standard practice. He said that it doubles the length of the surgery and that getting insurance approval is difficult. This does not mean that he is opposed to doing them at the same time, just that it is not his standard choice.

He said that a child, provided that hearing loss is his only disability, will be able to learn to listen and speak with just one implant. The second implant, which he usually does a year later, will help with incidental learning and make his hearing more like his hearing peers. However, you will not see the same listening and speech benefit from the second implant.

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