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BackTable / ENT / Podcast / Episode #111

Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica

with Dr. Adriana Vega

In this episode of BackTable ENT, Dr. Shah interviews pediatric otolaryngologist Dr. Adriana Vega about the process and importance of building a pediatric cochlear implant program in Costa Rica.

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Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica with Dr. Adriana Vega on the BackTable ENT Podcast)
Ep 111 Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica with Dr. Adriana Vega
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, May 18). Ep. 111 – Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Adriana Vega discusses Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica on the BackTable 111 Podcast

Dr. Adriana Vega

Dr. Adriana Vega is a pediatric otolaryngologist in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Dr. Gopi Shah discusses Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program in Costa Rica on the BackTable 111 Podcast

Dr. Gopi Shah

Dr. Gopi Shah is a practicing ENT at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

Show Notes

First, Dr. Vega discusses her workup on infants with hearing loss. Every infant is first screened with the otoacoustic emission (OAE) test. If they fail the test twice, they are sent to complete the auditory brainstem response (ABR) test. NICU babies go through ABR testing directly. Dr. Vega’s aim is to diagnose hearing loss at 3 months so infants can trial bilateral hearing aids for at least 6 months. If the parents and audiologists note no improvement with hearing aids, they will discuss cochlear implantation as a treatment option. She emphasizes that speech pathology, audiology, genetics, pediatrics, and psychology are integral parts of the care team during the workup of an infant with hearing loss as well.

She then transitions into how she educates families about the importance of speech therapy and audiology follow up after implantation. Some families may not have adequate financial resources to access these services, so she works through the social security system in Costa Rica to help parents with the cost of follow-up. Additionally, she notes that she does implant older patients who are prelingual, as verbal language is not the only goal of cochlear implantation. She believes that hearing can markedly improve an older patient’s quality of life by improving their social interactions. Before placing an implant in any child, she presents the patient case and workup results to an independent cochlear implant commission which decides if the patient is a good candidate for cochlear implants. During this time, the commission also assesses socioeconomic barriers and advocates for social security coverage of expenses.

Finally, the doctors end the discussion by talking about an upcoming cochlear implantation conference in Costa Rica in December.


Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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