Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation

Posted: February 16, 2011 in AVT, Cochlear Implant, INFO, Post CI, Rehabilitation, Therapy, Tunarungu

A child who is born deaf or who has lost all of her hearing because of an illness or accident can regain the ability to hear with cochlear implants. Because she is still young, she can regain the ability to learn how to listen and speak through special speech therapy.

    Speech Therapy Options

  1. When children receive cochlear implants, they will gain speech and language proficiency at a rate much different from other children. Depending on how old the child is, what his preferred communication style is, his hearing history, his learning style and the support he has, he might make faster progress in speech therapy than would another child. A child’s speech pathologist will work with the child to determine how much therapy is appropriate by considering the different stages of listening and speaking.
    A speech pathologist will consider which therapy approach will work for the child and family because the family will be involved in the process. These speech therapy approaches include auditory/oral, auditory/verbal, cued speech and total communication. The goals established by the family and the speech pathologist will determine which therapy option will be used. One important consideration is that the therapeutic objectives and goals must be supported by the child’s school and home environments.
  2. Prior Specch Therapy

  3. Before children receives a cochlear implant, they undergo a trial period with hearing aids, which was supplemented with either speech or aural rehabilitation therapy. This time period should have lasted about three months before the implant surgery took place. This period before cochlear implant surgery is important because it helps to determine that the implants would be a benefit for the child as well as determining the child’s ability to gain speech using assistive technology. The information gathered by the child’s speech pathologist or therapist will be used to determine how much therapy will be necessary and when this therapy needs to begin.
  4. Learning to Use the Implant

  5. After a child’s implant surgery, a hearing specialist will work with the implant to fine-tune the sound levels for the sound and speech processor. The lowest and highest sounds necessary for a child will be determined. A child will not be using the implant at the highest power level at first. This process could potentially take several months, especially if the child was born deaf. The implant will work to stimulate new pathways within the child’s brain that are necessary for hearing.
    While this fine-tuning and pathway-building process is going on, the child will be participating in speech and language therapy so he can learn to identify and interpret the sounds that are so new. Expect these sessions to last at least a year.

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