Medical Q&As

Cochlear implant - is my child suitable?

Can you give me any information on the "ear implant" that is carried out in Beaumont Hospital? One of my children has little or no hearing in one ear. About 6 years ago we were told that nothing could be done for her. This was before the implants became available at Beaumont hospital. I would like to find out more about these implants. Is it suitable for all types of deafness?

The implant you refer to is known as a cochlear implant. You can learn more about cochlear implants by reading our special feature on the device, which can be accessed at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=1652. It is very important to stress that not everybody is suitable for a cochlear implant. Therefore a detailed assessment would need to be performed before the procedure would even be contemplated. I suspect that your child would not be suitable because the procedure is usually only performed in those who are profoundly deaf in both ears. The procedure should not be regarded as a surgical panacea for hearing loss because it is only of benefit with hearing loss that is due to damage to the cochlea. The team at Beaumont hospital have a website that contains very useful and practical information, which can be accessed at: http://www.beaumont.ie/depts/support/cochlear/. However, I stress again that my impression, based on the information you have given, is that your child does not appear to be a suitable candidate for this procedure.