Cochlear Implants a Success for Once-Deaf Kids
Most Once-Deaf Children Still Hear 10-13 Years After Implants
Next: What Are the Keys to Cochlear Implant Success?
Mattox, reflecting a surgeon's caution, says it's impossible to predict how
well an individual patient will hear after getting a cochlear implant.
"We do need to communicate with patients to make sure their expectations
are reasonable," he says. "This is not a brand new ear. But it is
tremendously beneficial to many, many people. The exact results in a given
patient are unpredictable. We do have adult patients who talk on the telephone
the day after they get the implant. Some people don't achieve those levels, and
we don't know why."
Madell says there's nothing wrong with high hopes -- providing children and
their parents are willing to work hard for success.
"We expect outstanding results," she says. "I believe there is
virtually nobody who doesn't do well with cochlear implants if they are managed
Madell notes that cochlear implants in both ears give much better results
than single-ear implants. Even so, she stresses proper management. That has
- Fine-tuning. Madell's center sees each patient 10-12
times, making sure the implants are "mapped" to get the right frequency
for each component of spoken language.
- Good therapy. Emphasizing listening to spoken language
rather than lip reading or sign language.
- Involved parents. "Even more important is the need for
a parent or caregiver who will participate in therapy and do it at home,"
Madell says. "Somebody needs to talk to this child every waking