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September 6, 2005

Cochlear Implants: Any Ear Will Do

From:, CA - Sep 6, 2005

Ever wonder whether the good ear or the bad ear should get the cochlear implant? It turns out that it doesn't matter, which is good news for the hard of hearing, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins:

Patients with residual hearing in one or both ears prior to surgery scored significantly higher on the speech perception tests following surgery, even when the implanted ear was profoundly deaf prior to surgery. The researchers also noted that patients' ability to interpret speech in a noisy environment increased dramatically over time in proportion with the amount of residual hearing in the non-implanted ear.

"In cases where even a small amount of hearing ability remains in one ear, the central nervous system is better able to integrate auditory information with a cochlear implant, and equally so from either ear," Francis says. "This speaks to the brain's circuitry and its ability to interpret electrical signals generated by the implant even in the presumably more degenerated ear."

Dr. Howard Francis' study abstract...