How do you find and evaluate a good Cochlear Implant Surgeon?

Posted by jeff @jeff1816, Jul 4, 2021

Hello. I have a young nephew who has progressive hearing loss in one ear. He has a hearing aid (which he doesn't like using, I think) but the family is thinking of getting a cochlear implant. We are in Queens, NY.

We found a surgeon, Dr. Roland, that a lot of people recommend, except he doesn't take the family's insurance. And he is in the city, which is problematic because traveling to the city is challenging for a few reasons. We found a surgeon in Queens, Dr. Maja Svrakic, but we can't find anyone who has had CI surgery with this surgeon. Are there ways to find out more information on the surgeon, maybe talk to prior patients, so we can feel more confident about the surgeon from Queens? How could we connect with former patients who would be willing to share their experiences? Thanks.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

Thanks for starting this new discussion, @jeff1816. I'm confident that @julieo4 @lizzy102 @edschickel @alice44 @rae54 @davekoh and others can share tips on how to now only find a good surgeon, but also what criteria to use when evaluating their Cochlear implant expertise.

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On a very different surgery, I asked the doctor who proposed it how many he had done. The answer went from a few down to "two". That ended the discussion for me.

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@jeff1816 Has the medical professional who recommended a cochlear implant for your nephew given the family information about options n the area in which he lives? There are 3 well known manufacturers of cochlear implants. If your nephew is a candidate for a CI, and has selected his preferred brand, the company will work with his insurance company to get approval.

It helps a great deal to talk to others who have cochlear implants. I'm making the assumption that your nephew is not an adult, and the family is seeking information. I highly recommend connecting with The Hearing Loss Assn. of America, Inc. http://www.hearingloss.org HLAA has a great deal of information on their website. There are several chapters of HLAA in New York. Most chapters have many CI users among their members.

The reason your nephew doesn't 'like his hearing aids' may be that they are not helping him. That's the point at which people turn to CIs.

Getting information from others who are in the same situation via peer support is extremely helpful, so contacting a chapter may be very helpful.

I am a CI recipient myself. I live in Wisconsin where there are 2 well known CI surgery centers and 2 more that are smaller. I made my choice of surgeon and CI center based on the experiences of others, but know I would likely have had the same positive experience had I gone elsewhere. Definitely, I would want to know how many surgeries have been done, etc. That's information you generally get from others who have had the same surgery.

My CI has been life changing. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner than I did. Through HLAA, I know many people who have CIs, and also several families that have kids with cochlear implants. They have all been successful.

Adult onset hearing loss is different from that which is present n early childhood. Speech and language development start in early childhood. Adults have the advantage of already having those skills. If this is a pediatric situation, you will want to inquire about that as well.

It's difficult to know where one can go in another state, but know this is a good thing for your nephew. Let me know if I can be of further help.

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Dr. Frisch in Danville, KY did my surgery Excellent training at the Mayo Clinic. His wife is also a Mayo trainee in otolaryngology. She examined and tested me in Lexington where her dad has the same specialty. You might inquire at the ky School for the deaf in Danville.
Diana Seidel
Lexington, KY

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@julieo4

@jeff1816 Has the medical professional who recommended a cochlear implant for your nephew given the family information about options n the area in which he lives? There are 3 well known manufacturers of cochlear implants. If your nephew is a candidate for a CI, and has selected his preferred brand, the company will work with his insurance company to get approval.

It helps a great deal to talk to others who have cochlear implants. I'm making the assumption that your nephew is not an adult, and the family is seeking information. I highly recommend connecting with The Hearing Loss Assn. of America, Inc. http://www.hearingloss.org HLAA has a great deal of information on their website. There are several chapters of HLAA in New York. Most chapters have many CI users among their members.

The reason your nephew doesn't 'like his hearing aids' may be that they are not helping him. That's the point at which people turn to CIs.

Getting information from others who are in the same situation via peer support is extremely helpful, so contacting a chapter may be very helpful.

I am a CI recipient myself. I live in Wisconsin where there are 2 well known CI surgery centers and 2 more that are smaller. I made my choice of surgeon and CI center based on the experiences of others, but know I would likely have had the same positive experience had I gone elsewhere. Definitely, I would want to know how many surgeries have been done, etc. That's information you generally get from others who have had the same surgery.

My CI has been life changing. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner than I did. Through HLAA, I know many people who have CIs, and also several families that have kids with cochlear implants. They have all been successful.

Adult onset hearing loss is different from that which is present n early childhood. Speech and language development start in early childhood. Adults have the advantage of already having those skills. If this is a pediatric situation, you will want to inquire about that as well.

It's difficult to know where one can go in another state, but know this is a good thing for your nephew. Let me know if I can be of further help.

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Thank you for your detailed reply and information. My nephew is about 10 years old. So, yes, not an adult. I will pass along this information definitely.

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@kydi

Dr. Frisch in Danville, KY did my surgery Excellent training at the Mayo Clinic. His wife is also a Mayo trainee in otolaryngology. She examined and tested me in Lexington where her dad has the same specialty. You might inquire at the ky School for the deaf in Danville.
Diana Seidel
Lexington, KY

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Thanks! I appreciate the referral.

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