A cochlear implant program is a type of health care evaluation program affiliated with a university or medical center. People who wish to receive cochlear implants may be evaluated by these programs to determine whether they would benefit from the use of one of these devices. They may also be evaluated once the implant has been installed to determine whether the device is working properly. Additionally, a cochlear implant program may help to educate patients and their families about cochlear implants and how to make the best use of them.
One of the main things a cochlear implant program does is determine which patients would benefit from the use of a cochlear implant. These devices are used to transform sound waves into electrical information in much the same way that a normally functioning human ear does. Cochlear implants may make it possible for patients who are deaf to hear sounds, though not all patients are good candidates for the use of these implants. Patients who benefit from hearing aids that amplify sound, even if their hearing is so diminished that a hearing aid will only make a marginal difference, will not benefit from the use of a cochlear implant. These implants can, however, improve the hearing of patients who have a disconnect between the ear and the nerves that send auditory signals from the ear into the brain for interpretation.
Another of the responsibilities of a cochlear implant program is the education of patients and their families. Though cochlear implants are not uncommon, many people are not familiar with what they do and are not sure of how they work. Patients who may be candidates for receiving these implants can obtain information from a cochlear implant program so that they know what to expect. These programs may explain the science behind the implants and may also explain to patients the capabilities and limitations of these devices. While they can allow certain patients to hear, they will not allow those patients to hear as patients with normal hearing would.
Patients who have received a cochlear implant may also receive follow-up support from a cochlear implant program. They may receive tests that help doctors to determine whether their implants are functioning correctly. Patients with cochlear implants may also participate in studies run by cochlear implant programs at universities and hospitals that help scientists and doctors learn more about how the implants work and how to improve them.