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Are All Children With Hearing Loss Candidates for Cochlear Implants?

Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants for Children

Doctors believe cochlear implants are for children under 12 months of age with profound hearing loss in both ears. Older children with severe hearing loss also may consider cochlear implants. But how do we know the Cochlear Implant is the better option?

Professional advice

Professionals specializing in cochlear implants will help determine if cochlear implants are a good option. The team includes:

  • An audiologist (hearing specialist).
  • An ear-nose-throat (ENT) doctor.
  • A speech therapist.
  • A psychologist (optional) or the child’s pediatrician

Surgery Evaluation

Children being evaluated for the surgery will:

  • Undergo hearing tests
  • Have speech/language evaluations
  • Try a hearing aid for a while to see if it helps.
  • Get computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look at the inner ear and the bones around it.

When Cochlear Implant is not an option

Kids who might not get the implants are:

  • Those with hearing that is “too good” (they can hear some sound and speech with hearing aids).
  • Their hearing loss isn’t due to an issue with the cochlea.
  • They’ve been profoundly deaf for a long time.
  • The auditory nerve is damaged or missing.

Want to know if you are a Candidate?

Here is the Cochlear Implant Electrode Candidacy Checklist by age group. A candidate must experience these specific manifestations:

For 9-24 Months old (Toddlers)

  • Those who have Profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
  • They have a limited advantage from binaural amplification

For 2-17-year-olds (children and teenagers)

  • Those who experience Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both of their ears
  • They have a limited advantage from binaural amplification
  • Took Multisyllabic Lexical Neighborhood Test (MLNT) or Lexical Neighborhood Test (LNT) scores ≤ 30%

For Adults (Individuals 18 years of age or older)

  • Those who experienced Moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
  • Having limited advantage from amplification defined by preoperative test scores of ≤ 50% sentence recognition in the ear to be implanted and ≤60% in the opposite ear or binaurally

What Happens During Cochlear Implant Surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery will be under general anesthesia. The child will sleep through the surgery to not feel pain.

The surgeon will then:

  • Make an incision (cut), then position the implant under the skin and inside the skull.
  • Thread the wires with the electrodes into the spirals of the cochlea.
  • Secure the implant in place and seal the incision with stitches.

Depending on a child’s hearing, the doctor may advise getting two cochlear implants for each ear. The surgeon may do this simultaneously or in two separate operations. Children with two implants can better tell where sound is coming from, hear better in noisy settings, and hear sound from both sides without turning their heads.

Most children who get cochlear implants do satisfactorily, but the results vary. How well they hear and communicate relies on things such as:

  • the age at the span of hearing loss
  • what caused the hearing loss
  • their age when they had the implants
  • if they have other health problems or learning disabilities

If someone is a candidate for cochlear implants, speak to the implant team about what to anticipate after the surgery. It can assist in learning all you can about hearing loss and cochlear implants. You may talk to our team of experts from Cochlear Implant by The Listening Lab in Singapore. For more details on this option, please send your questions to the website’s contact form or book an appointment here.