Implants are designed only for individuals who attain almost no benefit from a hearing aid. They must be 12 months of age or older (unless childhood meningitis is responsible for deafness). The evaluation will be done by an implant team (an otolaryngologist, audiologist, nurse, and others) that will give you a series of tests:
- Ear (otologic) evaluation: The otolaryngologist examines the middle and inner ear to ensure that no active infection or other abnormality precludes the implant surgery.
- Hearing (audiologic) evaluation: The audiologist performs an extensive hearing test to find out how much you can hear with and without a hearing aid.
- X-ray (radiographic) evaluation: Special X-rays are taken, usually computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, to evaluate your inner ear bone.
- Psychological evaluation: Some patients may need a psychological evaluation to learn if they can cope with the implant.
- Physical examination: Your otolaryngologist also gives a physical examination to identify any potential problems with the general anesthesia needed for the implant procedure.