Cochlear Implant: Why Choose Us?

University of Iowa Health Care's department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, has a longstanding history of cochlear implantation. In April of 1980, the department implanted our first adult with a single-channel cochlear implant (CI) device. In 1983, we were the first center in the United States to implant a multiple-channel CI system in an adult.

In 1985, the University of Iowa received its first five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Program Project grant. This grant was designed to study the efficacy of multiple-channel CIs in adults. Data from this research led us to implanting the first pre-lingually deafened child in the United States with a multiple-channel CI in 1987. Following this, as part of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trial, we were the first center in the world to initiate a prospective clinical trial of CIs in children. As a direct result, in 1990, research data from FDA clinical trial led the FDA to approve CI surgery in children who were older than two years of age. Prior to this, cochlear implantation was only approved in adults. To date, more than 1,500 adults and children have received CIs at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics under the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center (ICICRC). The majority of those individuals received CIs with traditional, long electrode arrays. Many of those individuals have elected to participate in the cutting-edge, translational CI research through our NIH Program Project grant which has led to improved patient care.

Through the multiple-project grant mechanism, the ICICRC has nearly 35 years of experience investigating the issues and outcomes surrounding cochlear implants. This has resulted in a number of concrete advances, both clinically and scientifically. With respect to our clinical advancements, the team at Iowa has

  • Demonstrated that multi-channel CIs are an improved design when compared to single-channel systems1
  • Initiated the use of multi-channel CIs in congenitally deaf children
  • Developed strategies to monitor the response of the auditory nerve to electrical stimulation, technology that is now available in all commercial CI systems2,3
  • Initiated research involving simultaneous bilateral CIs for both pediatric and adult populations4,5

What We've Done

  • Identified how factors such as duration of deafness and amount of residual hearing affect speech perception and language outcomes6,7
  • Pioneered systematic perceptual testing and training in music8,9
  • Led the way in the use of real-time measures of speech processing using eye-tracking10

Finally, in 1999, we pioneered the development of the Hybrid CI which preserves residual low-frequency acoustic hearing in the implanted ear11,12, which can be combined with electrical stimulation from the CI (A+E hearing). A multicenter trial was initiated and final results from a total of 87 subjects who used the Hybrid device have recently been published13. Through multiple publications, we have learned that A+E listeners have the advantage of using the preserved low-frequency acoustic hearing to understand speech better in noise 11-15, maintain the ability to determine sound directionality16, and appreciate music17,18. Through our long-standing research, we are the only group to be able to demonstrate stability of functional acoustic hearing in Hybrid CI listeners that extends more than 15 years.

  1. Gantz BJ, Tyler RS, McCabe BF, Preece J, Lowder MW, Otto SR. Iowa cochlear implant clinical project: results with two single-channel cochlear implants and one multi-channel cochlear implant. Laryngoscope. Apr 1985;95(4):443-449.
  2. Brown CJ, Abbas PJ, Borland J, Bertschy MR. Electrically evoked whole nerve action potentials in Ineraid cochlear implant users: responses to different stimulating electrode configurations and comparison to psychophysical responses. J Speech Hear Res. Jun 1996;39(3):453-467.
  3. Brown CJ, Abbas PJ, Gantz BJ. Preliminary experience with neural response telemetry in the nucleus CI24M cochlear implant. Am J Otol. May 1998;19(3):320-327.
  4. Gantz BJ, Tyler RS, Rubinstein JT, et al. Binaural cochlear implants placed during the same operation. Otol Neurotol. Mar 2002;23(2):169-180.
  5. Tyler RS, Gantz BJ, Rubinstein JT, et al. Three-month results with bilateral cochlear implants. Ear Hear. Feb 2002;23(1 Suppl):80s-89s.
  6. Dunn CC, Walker EA, Oleson J, et al. Longitudinal speech perception and language performance in pediatric cochlear implant users: the effect of age at implantation. Ear Hear. Mar-Apr 2014;35(2):148-160.
  7. Gomaa NA, Rubinstein JT, Lowder MW, Tyler RS, Gantz BJ. Residual speech perception and cochlear implant performance in postlingually deafened adults. Ear Hear. Dec 2003;24(6):539-544.
  8. Gfeller K, Lansing CR. Melodic, Rhythmic, and Timbral Perception of Adult Cochlear Implant Users. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research. Aug 1991;34(4):916-920.
  9. Gfeller K, Witt S, Adamek M, et al. Effects of training on timbre recognition and appraisal by postlingually deafened cochlear implant recipients. J Am Acad Audiol. Mar 2002;13(3):132-145.
  10. Farris-Trimble A, McMurray B. Test-retest reliability of eye tracking in the visual world paradigm for the study of real-time spoken word recognition. J Speech Lang Hear Res. Aug 2013;56(4):1328-1345.
  11. Gantz BJ, Turner CW. Combining acoustic and electrical hearing. The Laryngoscope. Oct 2003;113(10):1726-1730.
  12. Gantz BJ, Turner C. Combining acoustic and electrical speech processing: Iowa/Nucleus hybrid implant. Acta Oto-Laryngol. May 2004;124(4):344-347.
  13. Gantz BJ, Dunn C, Oleson J, Hansen M, Parkinson A, Turner C. Multicenter clinical trial of the Nucleus Hybrid S8 cochlear implant: Final outcomes. Laryngoscope. Apr 2016;126(4):962-973.
  14. Gantz BJ, Turner C, Gfeller KE, Lowder MW. Preservation of hearing in cochlear implant surgery: advantages of combined electrical and acoustical speech processing. The Laryngoscope. May 2005;115(5):796-802.
  15. Turner C, Gantz BJ, Reiss L. Integration of acoustic and electrical hearing. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2008;45(5):769-778.
  16. Dunn CC, Perreau A, Gantz B, Tyler RS. Benefits of localization and speech perception with multiple noise sources in listeners with a short-electrode cochlear implant. J Am Acad Audiol. Jan 2010;21(1):44-51.
  17. Gfeller KE, Olszewski C, Turner C, Gantz B, Oleson J. Music perception with cochlear implants and residual hearing. Audiol Neurootol. 2006;11 Suppl 1:12-15.
  18. Gfeller K, Turner C, Oleson J, Kliethermes S, Driscoll V. Accuracy of cochlear implant recipients in speech reception in the presence of background music. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. Dec 2012;121(12):782-791.