Cochlear Implants: Act Quickly to Improve Language

Posted in: Hearing News  |  March 30, 2012 
Cochlear Implants: Act Quickly to Improve Language

Cochlear implants, sometimes called “bionic ears,” offer much different auditory assistance than hearing aids – and utilized properly, they can help children with early-onset deafness keep up with the language skills of their non–hearing impaired peers. All it takes? Acting quickly to minimize hearing problems right away.

Introduced in the 1960s, cochlear implants were developed to help people with profound deafness related to sensorineural hearing loss. That type of hearing trouble involves damage to hair cells in the cochlea, which holds the auditory nerve in the inner ear. If sound can’t get to the nerve, then a cochlear implant can move past the hair cells to stimulate the auditory nerve itself.

A cochlear implant involves both internal and external components:

  • A surgically implanted transmitter to send impulses from the auditory nerve to the brain
  • An external device featuring a microphone and speech processor, similar to a traditional hearing aid

In a study of children between 6 months and 5 years old, children who received implants before age 18 months exhibited markedly similar speaking skills to non–hearing impaired children. Those who received implants after age 3 still experienced lagging skills, though.

Although cochlear implants can benefit children or adults of all ages, research shows that earlier implementation is better, when it comes to matching language abilities. A cochlear implant, combined with educational activities that stimulate interest in language and doctor-advised speech therapy, can benefit children in the classroom, at home and in social settings.

If you believe that you or your child could benefit from a cochlear implant to help with language skills, then get in touch with us anytime. We’ll be happy to set up a consultation to see if the implant could be the best hearing solution.