Left ear, right ear, or both?
Most people receive an implant in only one ear; however, bilateral implantation (cochlear implants in both ears) is on the rise. With normal hearing, two ears are required to best tell where sounds are coming from, to hear optimally in noise, and to understand very soft speech. Studies have shown benefits with two implants as well (Peters, 2006). Insurance may only cover one implant, although some plans now cover two. In some instances coverage for both implants has been received upon appeal.
If you are getting one implant, you must decide in which ear to place it. Issues such as lifestyle, anatomy, dominant hand and hearing loss in each ear will be considered by you and your cochlear implant team in order to make a decision.
Peters, B. (2006). Rationale for Bilateral Cochlear Implantation in Children and Adults. Cochlear Corporation White Papers. Retrieved October 21, 2008 from http://www.cochlearamericas.com/PDFs/bilateral_white_paper.pdf.