Dr. Shuaib is uniquely qualified as one of the few ENT surgeons in the Rio Grande Valley who can perform cochlear implantation.


A cochlear implant is a small yet intricate electronic mechanism for those with difficulty hearing. While hearing aids only amplify sounds, cochlear implants replace damaged parts of the inner ear known as the cochlea.

Cochlear implants direct sound signals to the brain by stimulating the auditory via electrodes. Those with severe hearing loss who do not respond well to hearing devices may have better results from this procedure.

The implant consists of an external and internal piece. The external piece lives behind the ear while the internal piece is positioned under the skin. The internal piece is inserted during a straightforward procedure conducted under general anesthesia.

The implant has the following parts:

Head and Neck Cancers
  • A microphone that collects sound from the environment
  • A speech processor that selects and arranges sounds captured by the microphone
  • A transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which work together to receive sound from the speech processor
  • An electrode array that collects the stimulator impulses and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve


Cochlear implants can help people who:

Head and Neck Cancers
  • Have moderate to severe hearing loss in one or both ears
  • Hearing Aids do not provide adequate hearing ability
  • Are unable to achieve above a 65% on sentence recognition tests administered by hearing professionals

Both children and adults can be approved for this procedure. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 112,000 people worldwide had received implants by 2006. In the United States, roughly 23,000 adults and 15,500 children have received them.

Adults can take advantage of cochlear implants by learning to associate an implant’s signal with sounds they remember. This often gives recipients the ability to understand speech by listening exclusively through the implant, without additional lip-reading or sign language.

Together with intensive post-implantation therapy, cochlear implants can help young children gain speech, language, and social skills. Most children receiving implants are between the ages of two and six. Early implantation provides exposure to sounds during the critical period of speech learning.


The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes 3-4 hours per ear. Children typically stay in the hospital one night after the surgery. Downtime is quite minimal. During surgery, an incision is made behind the ear that exposes the area where the implant is to be placed. In this small area, the surgeon will place the receiver/stimulator under the skin. The array of electrodes is inserted into the inner ear and the receiver/stimulator is set up.


Although the surgical risks of cochlear implantation are very rare, complications may potentially occur. These include:

Head and Neck Cancers
  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Loss of taste sensation
  • Dizziness or ringing in the ear

For those hard of hearing, surgery typically removes all further ability to hear in the ear where the implant is placed. Hearing can be improved with a conventional hearing aid in the opposite ear.

Dr. Stefan Shuaib is one of the top head and neck surgeons in Texas and provides on-site diagnosis and treatment in the Rio Grande Valley. If you are concerned about any changes or symptoms you have been experiencing, it is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shuaib by calling (956) 362-8125.