Getting a Cochlear Implant - The Process
The rehabilitation process can vary in length from one person to the next. No one can predict exactly how much benefit your child will receive from a cochlear implant because there are many factors that contribute to how well one does with a cochlear implant. Some are in your control, such as which cochlear implant you select and when your child receives the device. Other factors are not in your control, such as how long your child has been deaf, how many nerve fibers are functioning, the presence of scar tissue (ossification) in the cochlea, or other physiological factors. Your expectations for how well your child will hear should be based on your discussions with your audiologist and surgeon - ONLY. Their experience combined with medical and demographic factors will enable them to set your expectations realistically.
So, while you will certainly come across examples of monumental success, and some of disappointment, keep your hopes and expectations based ONLY on what the cochlear implant professionals tell you.
Once you have decided to get a cochlear implant, you will be directed to your cochlear implant surgeon. He or she will discuss the risks of surgery and what to expect. The surgery requires anesthesia, takes about 3 hours on average, and is often done on an outpatient basis. Sometimes people stay overnight before they feel well enough to return home. During surgery, the implant is placed under the skin (above and behind the ear), and the electrode is inserted into the inner ear.
On the Way to Hearing
Approximately one month after surgery, your child will return to the implant center to receive the external components of the system. The initial programming of the cochlear implant sound processor is a very exciting and emotional time for everyone involved.
sounds are clearly audible and distinct, in some ways it is still like
learning a new language. Most adults take between one and three months
before they can really appreciate the full benefits they receive from
a cochlear implant. And, typically their hearing continues to improve
over time as they continue to gain experience listening to sounds and
speech. For some people, the process may take longer. For children, they
really are learning a new language - the language of hearing. It will
take a long time and a lot of hard work to reach different milestones.
But it's certainly worth it. In the weeks and months that follow your
initial programming, you will return to your audiologist to further optimize
your hearing programs. Visits to your audiologist will continue over time
until they are only necessary for annual check-ups or to take advantage
of new technology developments.
Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.