New Cochlear Implant Program Focuses on Whole Person

by Corey Fawcett

This semester, MSHC announced the opening of its MidSouth Cochlear Implant Program. The services will include candidacy for evaluation, cochlear implant programming/mapping, and the monitoring of progress in auditory skill development.

"Memphis has very few cochlear implant services, particularly for adults," Dr. Sarah Warren, visiting assistant professor of audiology at the University of Memphis and coordinator of the program, said. "In the U.S., about five to ten percent of adults could benefit from having cochlear implants. Here maybe only one percent of adults actually have one."

The program will offer a team approach to evaluation for candidacy, including input from professionals in speech and language, psychology, social work, and otology. "It's not just about the person and their hearing loss, but rather their whole lifestyle," Dr. Jennifer Taylor, associate professor and Director of Clinical Services in Audiology, said. "By having these entities together we can provide the best care for the patient and their specific goals."

"Cochlear implants aren't a miracle device," Warren added. "There's a lot of rehabilitation that goes along with getting one. It doesn't stop at getting the device in your head."

Warren is currently working on a masters in public health to explore the reasons why so few people seek cochlear implant services. She hopes to use this knowledge to effectively reach out to the many Memphis citizens who could benefit from the new program.

"Our goal is not to turn away anyone," she said.