In order to determine candidacy for a cochlear implant, your child will undergo a number of routine assessments prior to implantation. These tests allow the cochlear implant team to check for any additional factors or needs. Assessment will also allow professionals to adequately brief parents in order to help them to know what to expect. These assessments often include medical, audiological (hearing) and radiological (X-ray) evaluations.
The surgical procedure usually takes between one and three hours and is done under general anesthesia. The risks involved in cochlear implant surgery are low and are comparable to other ear surgeries. Children are usually "up and about" the next day. The hospital stay can vary from one to several days depending on your child's individual needs and what is typical in your area.
About four weeks after implantation, your child will receive his or her audio processor. The audio processor is programmed, or “fitted,” for each child individually by an audiologist or other professional. This program contains settings for pitch, loudness and timing. Setting up an ideal program for your child for the first time often requires repeated fitting sessions in order to gradually fine-tune the settings.
While cochlear implants provide a remarkable opportunity for children with hearing loss, sounds can be confusing and overwhelming at first. Regular communication training with a speech-language professional is an essential element in learning how to understand sounds and in developing listening and speech skills.
For very young children, auditory therapy may initially involve parent-directed therapy activities to help your child detect and recognize sounds. For older children, auditory therapy may focus on helping the child to recognize the new, more detailed way that things sound as opposed to the limited sounds they knew with hearing aids.
If you would like to be referred directly to a cochlear implant center
or would like more information on MED-EL cochlear implant systems, please contact us directly.