Cochlear Implants

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a device designed to provide hearing to those with severe to profound hearing loss. Part of the device is surgically implanted into the inner ear and the other part is worn behind their ear. A cochlear implant does not restore a person’s hearing to normal or cure deafness.

Health Canada’s Medical Devices Bureau approves and regulates cochlear implants.

Who should consider a cochlear implant?

Adults or children (at least one year of age) who have severe hearing loss in both ears and who don’t benefit from hearing aids should consider a cochlear implant. They must be healthy enough to have the surgery and be very serious about completing the follow-up process. 

In Nova Scotia, Medical Services Insurance (MSI) covers the cost of a cochlear implant.

How do you get a cochlear implant?

First, the person, a family member, an audiologist or a doctor makes a referral to the Halifax-based Cochlear Implant Program.

The cochlear implant team will then assess you with a few tests, including:

  • Testing by an audiologist to check hearing ability
  • Hearing aid test (and sometimes, a trial period) to see how they function with hearing aids
  • Counselling to see if they are motivated enough to learn to hear with the cochlear implant
  • Tests by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT),  including a CT scan, to see what the inner ear looks like
  • A speech language evaluation

If the audiologist, surgeon, speech-language pathologist and other cochlear implant team members recommend someone for an implant, that person (or his or her parents) chooses if they want to go ahead with the surgery.

How do I make a referral?

Referrals should be sent to the cochlear implant audiologists at the Halifax Community Clinic.

Heather Maessen, M.Sc., Aud(c)
Adrienne Comeau-Grandy, M.Sc., Aud(c)

Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres
5657 Spring Garden Road, Suite 201, Box 112
Halifax, NS  B3J 3R4

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