Cochlear implants are recommended when a person cannot obtain sufficient hearing from hearing aids to rely on listening for communication. Years of research and clinical experience have contributed to the development of guidelines for determining when a cochlear implant should be recommended. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of cochlear implants for children who meet the specified criteria. Insurance companies often follow these guidelines when determining if the cochlear implant is a covered expense.

General Criteria

  • Children at least 12 months of age
  • Children with severe-to-profound hearing loss
  • Children who are healthy enough to undergo the cochlear implant surgery
  • Children whose families are motivated to use listening for communication

Younger children

  • Lack of benefit from appropriately fit hearing aids that are worn consistently on a full time basis
  • Lack of progress or a plateau in auditory development

Older children

  • 30% or less word identification on standard tests when presented at a normal conversational level in the best-aided condition and without lipreading cues