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LVHN’s ENT Specialists Change People’s Lives With Adult Cochlear Implants

Program has seen tremendous growth

Hearing Help for Adults Part of LVHN Cochlear Implant Program
In 2021, Sean Marrero had cochlear implant surgery at LVHN and is able to hear better than he has in decades.

Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence's Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists have been performing pediatric cochlear implant procedures for more than five years. Last year, they added an adult cochlear implant program.

“With years of experience at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), our team was confident in expanding our program so adults didn’t need to travel as far for the life-changing procedure,” says ENT specialist Sri Chennupati, MD, with LVHN.

Since the program began, the number of cochlear implant procedures performed at LVHN has tripled, with LVHN experiencing the most growth of any cochlear implant center in the country last year, Chennupati says.

“From our ENT specialists to our audiologists and nurses in the operating room and recovery units, we are able to effectively support those under our care,” Chennupati says. “Our program is also the region’s only member of the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, which provides us with access to the latest research and resources to benefit our patients.”

The journey to better hearing

Cochlear implants are an option for adults with moderate to profound hearing loss who have not “The first step for patients is seeing an audiologist, who will conduct a series of hearing tests to see if your hearing loss is significant and meets the criteria for a cochlear implant,” says audiologist Alicia Stanley, AuD, with LVHN.

Individuals who qualify then undergo testing to make sure they have the proper structures for the implant and meet with an ENT specialist to undergo typical pre-surgical testing.

“Unlike a hearing aid, which amplifies sound, cochlear implants bypass damaged parts of the ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve and send signals to the brain that are interpreted as sound,” Chennupati says.

After the procedure

Connecting the implant typically takes only a few hours, so people can return home the same day. About six weeks later, they see their audiologist again to have the cochlear implant activated for the first time.

“It takes patients time to understand what they are hearing after the implant is turned on,” Stanley says. “We provide them with a full suite of aural rehabilitation and listening tools to train with.”

While Stanley says it can take six months to a year of at-home and audiologist-assisted training to hear properly with the implant, nearly all her patients experience a profound improvement in their lives as a result of the procedure.

Hearing Help for Adults Part of LVHN Cochlear Implant Program

Hearing Help for Adults Part of LVHN Cochlear Implant Program

Cochlear implant helps Sean Marrero enjoy work and music again

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