Hearing implants have improved quality of life for countless adults and children with hearing loss. Vanderbilt's experienced surgeons, audiologists, speech-language pathologists and educators of the deaf at Bill Wilkerson Center are leaders in this field and work as a team to provide the most comprehensive implant services in the region.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device designed to assist severely to profoundly hearing impaired adults and children who gain little to no benefit from hearing aids. It allows patients to “hear” by direct electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve, which transmits signals from the inner ear to the brain. The center has a record of 30 years of excellence in adult and pediatric cochlear implantation and the devices from all three manufacturers are available for implantation. As one of the leading implant centers in the world, the implant center at Vanderbilt has participated in a great deal of clinical and basic science research that promotes improved performance in cochlear implant use.
Brainstem implantation and bone-anchored hearing aid implantation may be options for patients who need hearing help beyond a traditional hearing aid. For patients who are unable to benefit from traditional hearing aids, an alternative option may be a Bone Anchored Implant (BAI). This is a surgical or non-surgical hearing device that sends sounds directly to the inner ear using small vibrations. This device can be used with patients who have conductive and mixed hearing losses, as well as those with single-sided deafness.
The Multichannel Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) is designed to provide sound to some people who become deaf when tumors are removed from their auditory (hearing) nerves. The ABI is a surgically implanted device that bypasses the damaged auditory nerves by providing electrical stimulation to the cochlear nucleus of the brainstem. This stimulation produces a response that can be interpreted by the brain as sound.