Bilateral cochlear implantation: Current concepts, indications, and results

Gregory J. Basura, Rose Eapen, Craig A. Buchman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The optimal treatment for bilateral hearing loss continues to evolve as cochlear implant (CI) and hearing aid technologies advance, as does our understanding of the central auditory system. Ongoing discussions continue on the validity and feasibility of bilateral CI in terms of performance, justification of need, medical/surgical safety concerns, and economics. The purpose of this review article is to provide an update on the advantages and disadvantages of bilateral CI and to provide a discussion on timing (simultaneous vs. sequential), technology (bimodal vs. binaural) and feasibility. Binaural advantages are found in both adult and pediatric bilateral CI recipients, the greatest being the head shadow effect and improvements in localization and loudness summation. This theoretically offers an advantage over their unilateral implanted counterparts in terms of improved sound localization and enhanced speech perception under noisy conditions. Most investigators agree that bilateral stimulation during critical periods of development is paramount for optimizing auditory functioning in children. Currently, bilateral CI is widely accepted as a safe and effective means of bilateral auditory stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2395-2401
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Bilateral cochlear implantation
  • Binaural advantage
  • Complications
  • Head shadow
  • Neural integration
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Sound localization
  • Squelch


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