Cochlear Implants for children
Is a cochlear implant right for my child?
Your GP, audiologist or ENT consultant will be able to tell you if your child’s hearing loss is appropriate for referral to a cochlear implant programme and arrange the referral. They will refer to guidelines published by NICE.
You can view the NICE guidance by clicking the link below:
If your child is referred to us, a multidisciplinary team of professionals will work with you and your child to carry out a detailed assessment of their hearing and communication needs. This will help to establish if cochlear implant(s) are right for your child and give you an idea about the level of likely benefits for them.
Benefits and limitations of cochlear implants
Although cochlear implants cannot restore normal hearing, nearly everyone who has the operation gains an increased ability to hear sounds and voices. Outcomes range from an increased awareness of everyday sounds through to a full understanding of spoken language.
The eventual outcome depends on a wide variety of factors such as:
- age and duration of hearing loss
- cause and history of hearing loss
- health and medical conditions
- learning, motivation and support
Here at the Nottingham Programme, we can give you lots of information about cochlear implants, but nothing can compare to getting information directly from people who are living with severe or profound deafness and have cochlear implants themselves. As part of the decision-making process, you will be encouraged to meet other families with children who have had cochlear implants so that you can discuss the benefits and challenges that may be involved.
You can also click here to view video clips and written accounts of some of our young patients and their parents talking about their experience with cochlear implants.
Speaking for Ourselves about Cochlear Implants
In this short film, seven children who were all born deaf and have had cochlear implants, answer a range of questions about their lives and what it is like to experience sound via a cochlear implant.
They explain their cause of deafness, how their cochlear implant works, what it feels like to wear the equipment and how it needs to be cared for. They talk about the decision their parents had to make about cochlear implants when they were still very young, how their families have helped them and the things they have enjoyed doing.
Click here to view the film
After the operation: On-going support
Listening through a cochlear implant is very different to normal hearing or hearing through a hearing aid; the child will need time to get used to how it sounds. In addition to programming appointments, children will receive support and visits from our Listening and Communication Specialists. This team of Speech and Language Therapists and Teachers of the Deaf work with the family, carers and local professionals to help develop the child’s listening skills and monitor their progress.
This may be in any of the following ways:
- appointments at Ropewalk House.
- outreach visits to the family and nursery/school with written feedback/resources as appropriate.
- telemedicine/teletharapy appointments, sometimes called virtual appointments, using video link via a computer, phone or tablet. Click here for more information about teletherapy
- telephone calls, texts and emails.
Visits are most frequent during the first year after implantation but support and monitoring continues with regular visits over the first five years. After that, families can always contact us if they have any concerns or queries.