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What are the Benefits of Cochlear Implants for Children?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

There are many benefits of cochlear implants for children, although the exact ones will vary depending on the child. Implants may restore or develop hearing in young children before they are too behind developmentally, allowing them to catch up with their peers. This allows them to live more normally by attention regular schools. They may also feel more included in activities and other aspects of growing up since they will be able to communicate more effectively with their hearing counterparts.

The exact benefits of cochlear implants for children will depend on the age of the child, whether or not hearing loss was recent, and where the child is developmentally. Very young children who are born deaf may benefit most since there is less adjustment to the different sounds experienced by implant patients. They are also better able to catch up with peers in terms of speech development since the longer one waits to begin learning these things, the harder it is on the child.

Cochlear implants are more effective when installed at a young age.
Cochlear implants are more effective when installed at a young age.

Older children may also benefit from implants, although the adjustment period is usually a little more dramatic. Kids who have already learned signed language may not accustomed to speaking. Those who were born with normal or partial hearing may find the altered sounds provided by the implant more difficult to adjust to than those who never had any hearing at all. With proper counseling, most children are able to fully utilize their implants.

Ages in which cochlear implants for children have varied over the years. They are used in children as young as one year of age. Doing the operation this early provides a greater chance of the child catching up on speech and other areas of the development. The age at which each individual child receives an implant will depend on many factors. Children who have additional health problems, who are underweight, or who have certain types of hearing loss may not be eligible for implants temporarily or permanently.

The use of cochlear implants for children allows kids to hear who previously would not have been able to. Even so, the sounds produced by the implant are different than those produced by the natural ear. Children who receive them will have to attend regular therapy sessions and one-on-one schooling to learn speech patterns and to obtain specialize training in any areas of development in which they are behind. This is primarily true for children who receive them at an older age.

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    • Cochlear implants are more effective when installed at a young age.
      By: Yahoo! Accessibility Lab
      Cochlear implants are more effective when installed at a young age.