In April of 1981 the Otolaryngology department implanted our first adult with a cochlear device. Six years later in August of 1987 we implanted our first child. As of September 2009, 695 adults and 249 children have been implanted at Iowa.
Iowa was first in providing bilateral implantation (both ears) and to date, 131 patients have received bilateral implants. 60 adults and 26 children have received simultaneous (both sides done during same surgery) cochlear implants. In addition, 18 adults and 27 children have received sequential implants where surgery is performed on the other side at a later date.
Although great strides have been made in the field of cochlear implants, large performance variations still exist among patients. In an attempt to better understand cochlear implant performance levels, the Iowa cochlear implant team has proposed innovative research protocols that have led to many research milestones. These milestones include:
- Becoming the first center to provide bilateral implantation to adult patients
- Implementing combined electric and acoustic stimulation
- Using high-rate stimulation to better replicate the normal cochlea
- Developing technology to measure the action potential of the auditory nerve
In addition, the Iowa Team has one of the largest longitudinal databases tracking the listening, speaking, and language development in children and adults. We have expanded to include both a music perception project and an infant-toddler perception project. The music project focuses on investigating novel signal-processing schemes to determine if music perception and appreciation can be enhanced. The infant-toddler speech and language perception project is investigating how children under the age of 18 months perceive sounds with a cochlear implant.