In general, simultaneous bilateral implants are more commonly performed in children than adults. “Children are lifelong learners, but their environment is very compromised in school with a lot of background noise,” Dr. Lalwani said.
Adults often present with different amounts of hearing loss in each ear. “Typically, we will choose to implant the poorer-hearing ear. If the patient gets good benefit, and particularly if the second ear does not benefit from amplification, we will often consider a second side implant,” Dr. Tucci said.
“If there is some residual hearing [substantial low-frequency residual hearing] in the contralateral ear, that ear is managed with a hearing aid,” Dr. Buchman added. “In most cases, the implant and hearing aid together are better than a cochlear implant alone. However, when people recognize that the hearing aid is not providing a lot of value and they are struggling substantially, that is when we consider a second cochlear implant.”