Monday, May 11, 2009

Cochlear Implant Candidacy Process

We met with Lily's ENT on Thursday and we all agreed that Lily is not benefiting from her hearing aids. She has NEVER responded to environmental sounds and in the booth she has responded at 80 to 95 dB. Lily's ENT and cochlear implant surgeon is Dr. Kang at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. We disucussed with him our wishes to have her bilaterally implanted in July when she is 8 months old. He told us he had no problem doing the surgery at 8 months but he wasn't hopeful that insurance would approve it before 12 months. He explained to us that even though some insurance companies have approved it younger than 12 months in the past, many companies are starting to deny claims before 12 months. So I'm afraid we may have a battle ahead of us.

The next step: complete several evaluations to determine if Lily is a candidate for cochlear implants. The following are the evaluations we will be scheduling in the next few weeks.

1. Medical Evaluation: Lily will have a CT scan to make sure there are no malformations of her inner ear that may impact the surgery.
2. Audiological (Hearing) Evaluation: More extensive sound booth testing and education for her daddy and I about cochlear implants.
3. Speech/Language Evaluation: Lily's expressive language (verbal and/or sign) and receptive language (understanding verbal and/or sign) will be assessed with her hearing aids on to determine if cochlear implants will benefit her.
4. Developmental Evaluation: A psychologist will evaluate Lily's visual learning and development/behavior.
5. Social Work Evaluation: A social worker will assess child and family functioning, family strengths and challenges and discuss support resources. Family expectations for cochlear implants and further education will also be discussed. Basically, I think this evaluation is to determine if Lily's daddy and I wil follow through with the therapy and education that is necessary for the implants to be successful.
6. Occupational Therapy Evaluation: The occupational therapist will assess Lily's balance and motor abilities and sensory responsiveness to touch and movement.

When all of these evalutions are complete (end of June) the cochlear implant team will determine if Lily is a candidate for surgery (first of July) and then we try to get approval from insurance. We're praying for immediate approval so we can have surgery at the end of July. We really want Lily to be able to hear as soon as possible.


  1. I wish you luck and patience during the candidacy process. It will be worth it!!!

    We will be in Columbus, visiting my aunt, July 13 & 14! She lives west of the university, off of fishinger & dublin rd, if you know where that is? Wouldn't it be fun if we could meet up at the park or something?

  2. That would be so much fun! It sounds like your aunt lives around Hilliard. I'm not sure what park you're talking about, but I'm sure we could find it if you let me know the name.

  3. Good luck through the whole candidacy process! I think a lot more insurance comapanies are approving CIs before 12 mths than ever before, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you all! Happy Mother's Day - the pics are beautiful.

  4. I agree with Tammy! I am really surprised that Dr. Kang would say that they are seeing more denials - of course they are seeing more cases, now that many familes are wanting to move forward with implanation so early, since stuides clearly show the benefit. But I've seen many families receive approval for the surgery before 12 months.

  5. Good luck! I hope you are approved for the cochlear implants! and she will have a lifetime of hearing!

  6. What a cute baby. Best of luck as you plow forward!