There are a number of factors that determine the degree of success to expect from the operation and the device itself. Cochlear implant centers determine implant candidacy on an individual basis and take into account a person's hearing history, cause of hearing loss, amount of residual hearing, speech recognition ability, health status, and family commitment to aural habilitation/rehabilitation.
A prime candidate is described as:
- having severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.
- having a functioning auditory nerve
- having lived at least a short amount of time without hearing (approximately 70+ decibel hearing loss, on average)
- having good speech, language, and communication skills, or in the case of infants and young children, having a family willing to work toward speech and language skills with therapy
- not benefitting enough from other kinds of hearing aids, including latest models of high power hearing instruments and FM systems
- having no medical reason to avoid surgery
- living in or desiring to live in the "hearing world"
- having realistic expectations about results
- having the support of family and friends
- having appropriate services set up for post-cochlear implant aural rehabilitation (through a speech language pathologist, deaf educator, or auditory verbal therapist).