Koss Cochlear Implant Program

cochlear

Children's Koss Cochlear Implant Program is the largest cochlear implant program in Wisconsin and recognized nationally for its strong clinical program, participation in investigational studies and ongoing research related to cochlear implantation. It is a collaborative program with Froedtert Hospital and The Medical College of Wisconsin.

Hearing loss problems

We work with children who have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss who may be cochlear implant candidates and children who already have cochlear implants. Sensorineural hearing loss is defined as loss of hearing resulting from problems in: 

  • The inner ear 
  • The nerve from the inner ear to the brain 
  • The brain

Cochlear implant services

We provide services to children with cochlear implants and to children who may be candidates for the implants which include: 

  • Evaluation for implantation 
  • Device programming 
  • Aural rehabilitation therapy 
  • Speech/language evaluation and therapy 
  • Educational consultation and collaboration with the schools and other local service providers 
  • Post-implant communication assessment 
  • Parent and family support groups

Evaluation and tests

For an initial cochlear implant evaluation, our specialists gather information about your family and look at previous audiological (hearing test) records. Once we have the information we need, we will schedule your child for appointments with all necessary specialists.

A comprehensive evaluation could include some or all of the following: 

  • Audiological – We usually schedule this appointment for three hours. Younger children who have difficulty sitting still for such a long time may need to have more than one appointment. Our audiologists will: 
    • Obtain individual ear information both with and without hearing aids 
    • Perform speech perception testing to evaluate how well your child is able to understand speech through hearing aids alone 
    • Have an extensive discussion about these test results and issues related to cochlear implant candidacy 
  • Speech/Language – Our team will schedule this appointment for about three hours. Children’s speech/language pathologist will obtain information about your child's communication abilities and identify ways to help your child further develop communication skills. After the appointment, we will send a report of the results (with recommendations) to you and to your child's school and other medical specialists, if needed. 
  • CT scan or MRI of the cochlea – We perform these scans to provide the surgeon information about the status of your child’s cochlea, hearing nerve and brain. 
  • Otological – The neurotologic surgeon will next discuss results of the CT scan and/or MRI and whether your child is a good candidate or not. The surgeon will go over the details of the surgical procedure. We encourage you to ask the surgeon questions about the procedure. 
  • Psychological – A pediatric psychologist will examine your child and evaluate your child's learning ability and whether cochlear implants are psychologically appropriate for him or her. We usually schedule a two to three hour appointment at the Children's Hospital's Child Development Center. 
  • Device discussion – Next, the audiologist will review each of the available cochlear implant devices with your family (and child when appropriate) if you are interested. Our team schedules this two hour session with you and it can sometimes be combined with one of the initial audiological evaluations. 
  • Post-implant expectations discussion – Throughout the evaluation process, we will tell you what results to expect, and we’ll keep you informed about post-implant follow up. You will have many opportunities to ask questions.

Department specialists

  • Audiology – Depending on your child’s age, one or two cochlear implant audiologists will work with him or her during testing. These specialists will also work with your child after implantation, and they are able to discuss the post-implant process. 
  • Speech/Language – A speech/language pathologist with experience evaluating children with hearing loss may be part of the process. 
  • OtologicalDavid R. Friedland, MD, PhD, neurotologist, who leads the cochlear implant program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin or Steven A. Harvey, MD, neurotologist, will meet with you as well. 
  • Psychological - Robert Schum, PhD, pediatric psychologist at Children's Hospital and an associate professor of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin will meet with you. He has extensive experience in evaluation of children with hearing loss and communication disorders.

All of our audiologists and speech-language therapists are highly skilled with extensive training and a master's or doctorate degree.

Contact us

To receive an informational packet, discuss whether your child might be a candidate, or be scheduled for an evaluation, call (414) 266-2685 or email us at cochlear.implant@mcw.edu.