Cochlear Implants for Kids: Earlier Surgery Works Best
Study Identifies a Window of Opportunity for Cochlear Implants in Deaf Children
Cochlear Implant Just the First Step
There is a lot of work involved in the evaluation process, and after
implantation as well, experts tell WebMD.
“If you put an implant on a child, you have to be sure to have the family on
board with doing everything that needs to be done,” says Anne Oyler, an
audiologist and the associate director of Audiology Professional Practice at
the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Md. This
includes teaching the child to develop listening skills and interacting with
“You can’t just put a cochlear implant on a child and be done with it,” she
says. “There is still work involved with helping to develop speaking skills,”
Oyler tells WebMD. “In and of itself, a cochlear implant is not a cure.”
Hearing aids also play a role in helping children with hearing loss who go
on to get cochlear implants. “Even if child can’t hear and understand speech
with a hearing aid, there is some stimulation and that is very important for
later on,” she says.
Parents need to make sure newborns get a hearing screen within the first
month of their life. “If they don’t pass, they need to follow up, and if they
do have hearing loss, get started with hearing aids, and if the hearing aid is
not helping, go on to cochlear implants,” says cochlear implant surgeon Mark
Wiet, MD, head of the section of otology, neurotology, and skull base surgery
at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
There is always a hearing aid trial before implants, he says.
That said, “cochlear implants are a modern miracle. Kids that are implanted
can be mainstreamed in school, so it can change the course of their life,” he