Health Watch -- Listen Up: Diagnosing for Ear Implants

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about hearing. Previously, we discussed the way that cochlear implants can help children develop better speech and language if they’re implanted earlier in life. But diagnosing the need for the implant and finding any abnormalities in the ears may be a challenge.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found recently that magnetic resonance imaging is more effective than CT scans for determining abnormalities in the inner ear, conditions of related nerves and any ear duct obstructions. Dr. Peter Roland, chairman of otolaryngology at UT Southwestern, says 30 percent of patients in a recent study had abnormalities that were identified with MRI that didn’t show up on a CT scan. The scans also help doctors decide how to place the implant, which ear is best for the implant, and even which surgical technique to use.


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November 2006

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