Cochlear implants are designed to restore some level of hearing to those who are profoundly deaf and aid them in communicating with others. Children between the ages of 12 months and 17 years, who have profound hearing losses in both ears, and who receive little or no benefit from traditional hearing aids may be considered for the program.
Receiving an Implant
Each child is carefully evaluated to determine whether an implant is right for them.
The parents and child (when age appropriate) are provided counseling and guidance about the available implant systems and what can be expected.
Surgery is performed under general anesthesia and most children only need to stay overnight for observation before going home to recuperate. During surgery, the internal device is placed under the skin behind the ear with the electrodes implanted in the inner ear (cochlea). Children usually return to school after one week. However, physical activity should be limited for two to three weeks.
About a month after surgery, we will fit your child with external equipment. A computer is used to adjust each of the electrodes to levels that allow the child to best hear sound. Those levels are stored on a speech processor, which analyzes sound received through a microphone, codes the sound and transmits the coded signal across the skin to the implanted device. The electrodes of the implanted device deliver electrical impulses to the hearing nerves, which send the message to the brain.
After the device has been properly fitted, the child continues in his or her training program to learn to use the new sound provided by the implant. The device may require periodic adjustment, as suggested by the manufacturer of the cochlear implant equipment.