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Florida's Cochlear Implant Center

Loren J Bartels MD FACS, Christopher J Danner MD FACS, and Kyle P. Allen MD MPH run one of the busiest and most respected cochlear implant centers in the State of Florida. We are a Best Doctors of America® based practice. Along with our team of doctoral level Audiologists you will find your time with us to be comprehensive and pleasant. We are here for you from your initial consultation and decision making process through your follow up care and ongoing device maintenance and programming.

We are actively involved in design and research discussions with all three of the major Cochlear Implant companies, Advanced Bionics, Med-EL Corporation, and Cochlear Corporation, which allow us to offer early adoption of the newest technologies and programming techniques. Our center hosts regional Audiology training courses offered by each of these companies.  We are confident you will find your decision to choose us as your cochlear implant provider a great experience. We offer an extensive array of assistive hearing solutions and can speak with you about what would work best for you and your lifestyle. Set up your appointment with us today!

Cochlear Implants

The cochlear implant is an electronic device that provides sound information to individuals that have sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and do not adequately benefit from hearing aids. The cochlear implant stimulates the surviving auditory nerve fibers in the center column of the inner ear, an area called the modiolus which houses the cochlear spiral ganglion. Bypassing the sensory structures of the inner ear, a cochlear implant provides auditory information directly to the hearing nerve. Note that the vast majority of persons said to have nerve hearing loss in fact have loss of the sensory system hair cells.

The cochlear implant has external and internal components. The external system includes a microphone, a speech processor computer, and a broadcast antenna. Surgery inserts the internal components, an internal receiver antenna, an internal processor, and an electrode that inserts inside of the cochlea. The individual then wears an external receiver, a microphone and a speech processor. A magnet holds the receiver to the head. The receiver is connected to a speech processor with a thin wire. The processor picks up sounds and converts them to coded signals. These coded signals are converted to electrical stimuli, which are then sent to the internal receiver and ultimately to the electrode array. These electrodes then stimulate the auditory nerve, which then sends information to the brain.

The TV Series Healthy Body Healthy Mind (Episode 2401) recently produced a 30 minute program about Cochlear Implants. The program follows several patients and is a good introduction to the live changing world of cochlear implants. The following link takes you to the program: "Cochlear Implants: Bringing Back the Joy of Sound".

More About Our Program

Our pediatric and adult cochlear implant program offers the latest technology in implants that are currently on the market. We work with all three major cochlear implant companies: Advanced Bionics, MedEL, and Cochlear Corporation. Our program is composed of a multi-disciplinary team of hearing healthcare specialists. The Tampa Bay Hearing & Balance Center coordinates care with multiple other resources in the State including public and private schools, the Bolesta Center at USF, speech and language pathologists, social services for hearing impaired persons, and researchers in the area of cochlear implants, and nurses.

The initial evaluation, audiological testing, medical consultaion, preoperative consultation, and postoperative device programming are done at the Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center. For patients coming from a distance, we make every effort to schedule appointments all on the same day. We can also provide information on lodging that is available in the area.

Cochlear Implant Surgery

Implanting a cochlear implant involves a two-hour surgery, but time away from family in preoperative and postoperative care may exceed three hours. Prior to surgery, the patient, in consultation with the audiologist and the physician decide which ear will receive the implant. Only a thin area of hair needs to be shaved along the incision line. The surgeon creates a pocket in the skull behind the ear to accept an internal receiver. Under a surgical microscope, meticulous drilling through the mastoid bone accesses the cochlea. A small hole in the round window membrane opens the cochlea and allows insertion of the electrode array. With a special piece of equipment, tests of all of the electrodes assure that the device is functioning properly.