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Who is a candidate?

The following general criteria are used to determine candidacy for a cochlear implant:


  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Severe-to-profound, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (greater than or equal to 70 dB HL).
  • Limited benefit from appropriately fitted hearing aids, defined as scoring 50% or less on a test of open-set sentence recognition (HINT Sentences).


  • 12 months through 17 years of age.
  • Profound, bilateral sensorineural deafness (greater than or equal to 90 dB HL).
  • Use of appropriately fitted hearing aids for at least 6 months in children 2 through 17 years of age, or at least 3 months in children 12 through 23 months of age. The minimum duration of hearing aid use is waived if x-rays indicate ossification (abnormal bone growth) inside the cochlea.
  • Little or no benefit from appropriately fitted hearing aids. In younger children (4 years of age and younger), lack of benefit is defined as a failure to reach developmentally appropriate auditory milestones (such as spontaneous response to name in quiet or to environmental sounds) measured using the Infant-Toddler Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale or Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale OR less than or equal to 20% correct on a simple open-set word recognition test (Multisyllabic Lexical Neighborhood Test) administered using monitored live voice (70 dB SPL). In older children (over 4 years of age), lack of hearing aid benefit is defined as scoring less than or equal to 12% on a difficult open-set word recognition test (Phonetically Balanced-Kindergarten Test) OR less than or equal to 30% on an open-set sentence test (Hearing In Noise Test for Children) administered using recorded materials in the sound field (70 dB SPL).

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