Clinic News

Watson Clinic Offers Cochlear Implants For Patients With Severe Hearing Loss


Jeffrey A. Paffrath, MD, a board-certified Watson Clinic Otolaryngologist (ENT), is pleased to offer cochlear implants, a revolutionary device that restores the perception of sound for patients with severe hearing loss.

Hearing aids work by amplifying sound acoustically, and in some cases are incapable of providing efficient amplification for patients with profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants are designed to provide efficient amplification by electrically transmitting sound directly to the auditory nerve.

The cochlear implant system includes both external and internal components. The external components require the patient to wear a speech processor and microphone behind their ear much like they would a hearing aid. This unit is linked to a small transmitter that is stationed on the scalp above.

The internal component consists of an implant that is inserted by a doctor, just under the skin by the temporal bone. This implant converts the signals collected from the external processor and sends them to electrodes that stimulate the auditory nerve. This allows sound waves to make their way directly to the area of the brain that recognizes and interprets them.

“Cochlear implant technology has advanced significantly in recent years,” says Dr. Paffrath. “The system is now equipped with wireless technology and can be used for a variety of different applications whether you’re listening to the radio, speaking with a loved one in close proximity or talking on the phone.”

The implant has been shown to improve a patient’s speech as well, which is often debilitated by hearing loss.

At Watson Clinic, candidacy for the implant is determined upon examination by a licensed audiologist. The surgical procedure is then referred to an ENT surgeon. “The system produces a richness of sound that can transform the way hearing impaired patients experience the world around them.,” says Christian H. Stewart, Au.D., CCC-A, a certified audiologist at the Watson Clinic Hearing Center in the Bella Vista Building.

In order to qualify, adult candidates must suffer from severe hearing loss in both ears that cannot be adequately corrected by traditional hearing aids.

Dr. Paffrath treats patients from the Watson Clinic Bella Vista Building at 1755 N. Florida Ave in Lakeland and Watson Clinic Highlands at 2300 E. County Rd. 540A in south Lakeland. In addition, hearing exams are performed from these two locations at the Watson Clinic Hearing Center. To schedule a consultation, please call 863-680-7486.

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