Cochlear Implants FAQ
1. Can my infant or preschooler be implanted?
Candidacy varies in different countries, and between implant centers. Depending on circumstances, a child as young as six to twelve months of age might receive an implant after using hearing aids for weeks or months. Many implant centers consider degree of hearing loss in terms of ability to hear and understand speech, rather than responses at specific decibel levels.
You can ask our audiologist what the criteria are and if your child qualifies.
2. Should I wait until newer technology is available?
We recommend that a child should receive an implant as soon as candidacy is determined and parents should not wait for technology to change.
Make sure that your child starts with hearing aids .Once your child gets an implant, we will inform you about any external technology improvements as they become available.
3. Are two implants better than one?
Bilateral implants (two implants) provide awareness of sound on both sides and better understanding of speech in situations with background noise. The quality of speech of a cochlear implant user may improve from listening with two implants but results are very individual and not guaranteed.
4. How do I know if my child needs to use an implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other?
If a child is able to hear some speech with a hearing aid, the combination of an implant and hearing aid can be helpful. Many children and adults report that their hearing aid provides low frequency sound which carries more depth and quality of voice, while their implant gives better high frequency hearing and provides more clarity
You can talk with our audiologists about the speech sounds your child can hear with a hearing aid. You might discuss possible benefits of having your child use an implant on one side and a hearing aid on the other and when it might be best to introduce that arrangement.
5. What is expected when the implant is activated?
Implantation is a process and not an immediate fix resulting from simply purchasing a device. Families often have high hopes for clear and quick speech but usually the process starts with sound awareness, listening, understanding words and then beginning to talk.
You can begin by encouraging your child to listen to everyday sounds. Then introduce new sounds. Be enthusiastic! Listening can be fun.
6. How soon do children respond to sounds with a cochlear implant?
If a child has heard no sounds before implantation, he will need to learn to listen. This can take a few months, since sounds from the initial stimulation are often soft and then increased as the child becomes comfortable. If a child has developed listening skills before getting an implant, he might respond to sounds soon after activation.
You can find ongoing new and meaningful experiences for your child to hear so that listening is a process of discovery. You can document what he is responding to and discuss this with us.
7. Does speech sound the same to my child with an implant as it does to me?
Speech heard through an implant is not the same as speech perceived by a person with typical hearing. There are recordings which attempt to demonstrate sounds as heard through an implant, but your child might hear differently. A child's brain will learn to interpret sounds from an implant, but how you and your child hear sounds will not be the same. The brain makes sense of sounds and those sounds become natural hearing to the child.
You will not know exactly how your child perceives sounds but you can observe what he hears. You can begin using the Ling Six Sound Test with your child after his implant is activated to document what he hears at what distances.
8. How soon do children talk?
There are many factors involved in the development of speech with an implant. If a child has awareness of voice and some language, the process of understanding and speaking may be faster than for a child who did not have these skills. A child who receives an implant at one year of age may develop spoken language at a different rate than a six year old.
9. Will my child need speech therapy?
After an implant is activated, a child's brain may not immediately understand many new sounds. A speech therapist can help him learn to respond to sounds and assist you in developing his listening skills. Parents often feel that more therapy sessions will quickly improve their child's listening. However speech therapy is an isolated practice and follow-through at home is necessary.
You can provide your child with constant conversation at home. You can also specifically create opportunities that build on the focus of therapy sessions. Then your child has much experience with listening in a meaningful way during typical routines..
10. What is most important?
Trust the technology, the professionals and the process. Learn about the implant and your child's ability to hear sounds. Seek to partner with professionals who will work with you and other professionals.
Trust that the process will take time, that you will develop the skills to help your child and that your child will embrace new ways to learn. Trust that your hopes for your child are what is most important.