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VCU Department of Otolaryngology, Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Department of Otolaryngology VCU Medical Center VCU

VCU Department of Otolaryngology

The Patient Experience

pump up the volume

A Centreville couple receives cochlear implants at the VCU Medical Center

Joe did a lot of research before deciding where to have his cochlear implant surgery done. For 10 years, he had been keeping a mental tab on the various cochlear implant centers across the country based on the surgery experiences of friends and associates.

It was after meeting the team at the VCU Cochlear Implant Center — Daniel Coelho, M.D., co-director and medical director of the VCU Cochlear Implant Center; Sean Kastetter, senior cochlear implant audiologist at the VCU Cochlear Implant Center; Suzanne Hasenstab, Ph.D., former director of audiology and professor of otolaryngology; and Aristides Sismanis, M.D., former chair of the VCU Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery — that he was sold. Joe said the team consists of "top notch professionals that inspired a level of confidence." "The success of my cochlear implants, and of many other people who had their surgeries at VCU, is proof of the quality of the cochlear implant program at VCU," he said.

On Sept. 21, both Joe and Meg underwent cochlear implant surgery performed by Coelho and his team. The Duartes are the first couple in the history of cochlear implant manufacturer, MED-EL, to receive cochlear implants on the same day. A cochlear implant is a device that allows individuals with severe hearing loss to convert received sounds into a series of electrical impulses – thereby helping them to hear.

"A cochlear implant is a way of electronically bypassing the parts of the inner ear that are not functioning," Coelho said. "For patients with severe hearing loss, a hearing aid may not provide adequate volume or clarity. However, for the right patient, a cochlear implant is able to provide both with amazing results." According to Coelho, the benefits of cochlear implants are numerous and substantial. For patients who previously had hearing, it allows the recipients to return to a more normal life filled with sound, voices and music. "For those who never had hearing, particularly in children, it opens up a world of sound that hearing people take for granted, and that never would have been possible without this technology," he said.


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