The Cochlear Implant Program at UCLA represents one of the largest and most prestigious cochlear implant centers in California and is well recognized across the country.
The program has been in existence since 1997 and has accumulated a wealth of experience and expertise providing quality medical care to close to 500 cochlear implant recipients, young and old. The number of patients implanted annually continues to rise as a result of expanding candidacy criteria for implantation as well as new developments in cutting-edge cochlear implant technology. The UCLA Cochlear Implant Program incorporates a knowledgeable and sophisticated team of scientists and healthcare professionals.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and helps him or her to understand speech.
The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin. The basic parts of the device include:
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of April 2009, approximately 188,000 people worldwide have received implants. In the United States, roughly 41,500 adults and 25,500 children have received them.
UCLA determines implant candidacy on an individual basis and takes into account a person's hearing history, cause of hearing loss, amount of residual hearing, speech recognition ability, health status, and family commitment to aural habilitation/rehabilitation. The three main groups of people to receive implants are post-lingually deaf adults, pre-lingually deaf children and post-lingually hearing-impaired people whose hearing loss is usually due to disease.
A prime candidate has:
Because of cochlear implantation is a rather delicate and challenging procedure patients should consider the experience and knowledge of the medical staff and clinical associates when selecting a cochlear implant center.
Post-operatively, patients maintain a close relationship with audiologists and speech pathologists for ongoing care while developing communication skills and getting used to life with cochlear implants. This patient care relationship along with active family involvement is important to ensure that speech and communication skills reach their full potential.
The Armenian International Medical Fund (AIM Fund) was formed in May of 2003 as a non-profit organization. Its mission is to create and maintain innovative healthcare programs in Armenia. One of the organizations' major endeavors is to provide free hearing screenings, low-cost hearing aids, and cochlear implant surgeries on children and young adults.
Based on the health care needs of the people of Armenia, AIM Fund will establish world-class services with dedicated multidisciplinary professionals and cutting edge technology, including the Armenian National Ear Center, Neurosurgery services and a Medical Student Exchange program.
Since 2004, the AIM Fund has helped 42 children and young adults undergo successful cochlear implant surgeries. Armenia has become the regional center for cochlear implants in the Caucasus and is second only to Russia in providing these services in the region. In June 2008, the Armenian government recognized this project as one of the most innovative government-supported healthcare programs in the country. The AIM Fund is operated solely by medical staff volunteers from the United States and Armenia.