Who Is Eligible for Pediatric Cochlear Implants?

Children who meet the criteria approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are medically healthy for surgery may be candidates for a cochlear implant. Cochlear implants are considered for children:

  • Age 9 months or older
  • Bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss (> 90 dBHL PTA) for children age 9 months to 24 months
  • Bilateral severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss (>65 dBHL PTA) for children age 24 months and up
  • Children ages 5 years and up who experience single-sided deafness (profound sensorineural hearing loss in one ear) or asymmetric hearing loss
  • Limited benefit with appropriately fit hearing aids (except for post-meningitis children)

Cochlear implants may not be appropriate for every child with hearing loss. Following are some conditions that may indicate that a cochlear implant may not right for your child:

  • Medical conditions giving unfavorable risks to undergo general anesthesia (e.g., severe cardiac and pulmonary conditions)
  • Significant intracochlear ossification or fibrosis
  • Other congenital malformations of inner ear
  • Active chronic otitis media
  • Poor psychosocial environment and support

Exclusionary Conditions

Children with inner ear abnormality (for example, Michel malformation in which the cochlea does not develop, or complete absence of the cochlear nerve) cannot receive cochlear implants.

Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation

At Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital (BMSCH), each potential cochlear implant candidate will be evaluated by our multidisciplinary team composed of audiologists, speech/language pathologists, social workers, neuropsychologist, and otolaryngologists. Each case will be reviewed thoroughly during our team conferences to ensure appropriate candidacy.

Learn more about BMSCH's Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program.

Patient Stories

  • “The recovery was pretty challenging. But in my head, I was like, ‘I need to do this if I still want to play football in college.’ So I pushed through it, and in the end, it all came out amazing.”

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Patient Stories

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