ENT for children provides a wide array of cochlear implants to help children with impaired hearing improve the quality of their lives. We have also implemented a Cochlear Implant Program where we involve a highly experienced multi-disciplinary team, professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping patients hear their first sound.
What are cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants consist of small electronic devices designed to take over the role of the damaged or absent nerve cells required for the sense of hearing. Unlike other hearing aids, the cochlear implant can be programmed to the child’s specific needs. The device incorporates two main components:
- An exterior part comprising of a speech processor, microphone and a transmitter that can be worn similarly to any other hearing aid.
- An interior part (a receiver/simulator) that is implanted surgically by an ear, nose and throat physician.
What are the benefits of the device?
The cochlear implant is a device that addresses children with severe hearing loss in both ears and who do not benefit from other hearing aids anymore. Perhaps the biggest advantage of these hearing aids is that they substantially improve the ability of a child to understand speech and develop appropriate speech. Moreover, they do not work by making sounds louder, but instead improve the way patients hear sound.
To make the most out of the device, cochlear implants are recommended in conjunction with speech therapy. Nonetheless, any therapy that revolves around listening, speaking-reading skills or language helps in this case.
Who is the best candidate for a cochlear implant?
The best candidates for cochlear implants are children who suffer from severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. In other words, the devices are recommended for children whose average hearing level is lower than 70 dB in both ears without hearing aids. In the event the child is wearing hearing aids, then not being able to recognize single words clearly out of the context could imply he/she might benefit from a cochlear implant.
On a side note, the device can be used by children as young as 12 months, as indicated by the FDA. If the child is congenitally deaf, then it is mandatory that the surgery is performed before he/she is 4 years old. The sooner children undergo surgery, the better chances they have to hear and speak normally.
How is the cochlear implant inserted?
As previously mentioned, the interior part of the implants needs to be inserted via a surgical procedure. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The cochlear implant is inserted inside the cochlea to stimulate the nerve of hearing directly.
Are there any risks associated with the procedure?
Take note that the surgery destroys parts of the residual hearing, the child will no longer be able to rely on conventional hearing aids.
If your child once had normal hearing or partial hearing and then became deaf, then a cochlear implant might be just the thing to help him. Feel free to contact ENT for Children and find out more about how these hearing aids can help improve the quality of life for your child.