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What is the Anatomic Criteria for a Cochlear Implant?

 In Arizona Hearing Center, Cochlear Implant, Hearing Loss

Cochlear Implants – Anatomic Criteria

This article is the next blog in our Cochlear Implant series.  If you have not already, you may want to first look at Am I a candidate for the cochlear implant surgery? and Cochlear Implants – Patient Expectations.

At Arizona Hearing Center, we pride ourselves on providing not only a world-class patient experience, but also the best possible rehabilitative outcomes for our cochlear implant patients.  One reason why we’re able to help cochlear implant patients maximize their hearing potential is that our hearing experts carefully review each patient’s hearing anatomy to ensure the most appropriate type of technology is recommended.

After a patient meets audiologic criteria for a cochlear implant, the next step is to verify that the patient’s anatomy is capable of receiving the implant.  This is done by having the patient complete a CT scan and/or MRI.  We understand that medical imaging can be not only time consuming, but also stressful for our patient’s; that’s why we network with several local imaging centers to help streamline the process for our patients.  Our imaging process also guarantees that our medical professionals will receive all of the information needed to ensure that the patient’s cochlea is open and capable of receiving a cochlear implant.

When a patient completes their CT scan and/or MRI, they will be given the films or CD by the imaging center.  The patient is responsible for bringing those images to our office at their next visit.  Our team of medical experts go beyond simply reading the report from the radiologist; they look at each patient’s hearing anatomy to verify that cochlear implantation is possible and is the most appropriate treatment solution.

It is a rare occurrence that imaging will overlook obstructions preventing cochlear implantation[1][2].  Since our team at Arizona Hearing Center takes  a thorough case history of every patient, most obstructions that would prevent cochlear implantation can be anticipated by our team of hearing experts, including Dr. Mark Syms.

One type of anatomical abnormality that could prevent cochlear implantation is called called cochlear ossification.  Cochlear ossification can occur in patients with a history of meningitis or otosclerosis.  Even if there is ossification in the cochlea, there is still a chance that the patient could be considered for a cochlear implant.

Patients who have Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) may also not meet anatomical criteria for a cochlear implant.  If you or a loved one has NF2, please read our article on Auditory Brainstem Implants.

Regardless if you are candidate for a cochlear implant or not, our clinic has the most advanced surgical and non-surgical options to treat hearing loss.  If you are a cochlear implant candidate, you now understand why anatomic criteria is a crucial step in the implant process.  If you’re ready to rehabilitate your hearing loss and reach your maximum hearing potential, contact our clinic today at 602.307.9919.


  1. Jackler, Luxford, Schindler, and McKerrow, 1987
  2. Wiet, Pyle, O’Connor, Russell, and Schramm, 1990

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