My Child's Hearing
The pitter-patter of raindrops. A best friend’s laughter. A mother’s loving voice. The world has so many wonderful sounds that bring color and joy to our lives.
If you’ve recently learned your child has hearing loss, don’t lose hope. We understand this is a challenging and emotional time for your whole family, but rest assured, there are solutions that can fill your child’s life with all the joys of sound.
Bringing Sound to Life
Right now, you’re going through an overwhelming experience. You may have been shocked to find out your infant did not pass their newborn hearing screening. It can be frustrating and disorienting to understand what to do next and how to make the right decisions.
As a parent, you want the best for your child. You want your child to hear your words, to listen to others, to express themselves, to follow their dreams, and be able to do what they love.
Your child’s mind is developing quickly, so being able to hear is essential. Your child needs to be able to hear sounds to learn how to listen and communicate with the world around them.
As a first step, your audiologist may have recommended hearing aids for your child. Hearing aids are often a good place to start for moderate degrees of hearing loss. But even the strongest hearing aids can’t effectively treat more serious hearing loss.
If your child has significant hearing loss, don’t lose hope. Even for children who are completely unable to hear, cochlear implants can offer the ability to hear their world.
Cochlear Implants for My Child
In natural hearing, sounds travel from your outer ear to your inner ear, which is known as the cochlea. The cochlea turns sound waves into nerve signals that can be understood by the brain. You have two cochleae, one on each side to detect sounds for each ear.
If your child has sensorineural hearing loss, the sensory hair cells in your child’s cochlea are not working. This can be from many causes, including genetic factors, meningitis, or may be from unknown causes. Even though the hair cells are not able to function like they should, the rest of the natural hearing structures in the cochlea are often intact, patiently waiting to be activated.
To provide hearing, a cochlear implant uses tiny electrical pulses to bypass the non-working hair cells in your child’s cochlea. Just beyond the hair cells, the implant signals are turned into nerve signals that travel through your child’s auditory nerve and follow the natural hearing pathways to their brain, just like your hearing ears.
With a cochlear implant, your child can hear your voice. Your child can laugh with friends and excel in school. Your child can grow and speak their mind. With the gift of hearing, your child can follow their dreams and share their own gifts with the world.
Learn More About How a Cochlear Implant Works
When my family and I learned about my son’s hearing loss we were devastated. Shocked. Heartbroken. Overwhelmed. This entire process of learning that my son lost his hearing, then to getting bilateral cochlear implants has been an emotional rollercoaster.
It has been overwhelming at times, but it has also been amazing to watch and experience. I am constantly in awe of his progress with speech and hearing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without his cochlear implants.
Christina, New York
The Next Steps
What are the next steps in my child's cochlear implant journey?
First, your audiologist and clinical team will need to determine if a cochlear implant is an option for your child’s hearing loss. If you’d like help finding a cochlear implant audiologist near you, please let us know with the contact form below. We can also help you get in touch with other parents who have gone through the same journey and can share their experiences with you.
If a cochlear implant is the right solution, the next step is implantation. This is a safe and routine surgery that takes about an hour or two. Your doctor may have your child stay at the hospital for a day or two.
About two to four weeks after implantation, the implant can be activated. Your cochlear implant audiologist will program the implant for your child and show you how to use everything. This activation day is the first time your child will be hearing with their implant.
After activation, your child will need to learn to understand sounds with their new ears. Daily listening exercises are very important to help your child build listening skills and learn to hear with their implant. These rehabilitation exercises can be done together with a hearing professional and at home.
Here With You
At MED-EL, we’ve been connecting families with life-changing hearing implants for more than 30 years so we understand that hearing loss can be difficult for you and your whole family. That’s why we’ve always been driven by one thing: A passion to help people with hearing loss.
It’s been that way since 1977, when our CEO, Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, pioneered the modern cochlear implant along with her husband Erwin. Today we’ve grown to more than 2,500 employees covering over 130 countries, but we’re still guided by the steadfast principles of our founders.
Our dedicated support network and local care specialists ensure our recipients are always well cared for. And when we create new technology, we make sure it’s compatible with earlier implants so that everyone can benefit. With MED-EL, our recipients know they can always count on us for a lifetime of better hearing.
When you’re ready to take the next step, we’ll be here with you every step of the way.