Cochlear Implant: Is it right for my child
Hearing loss is a common problem encountered in children, the incidence of congenital hearing loss is approximately 1in 1000 children. Parenting a child with hearing loss is quite difficult, as the child cannot express the needs. The difficulty not only lies with parenting but also the overall development of the child also. The hearing, speech and language development being one part & psychological development being the other part.
When a child has a hearing problem and is not speaking, then it is very difficult for the parents to decide what needs to be done? Whether the child will be on medicines or hearing aid will be the answer or whether speech therapy should be done or the child will need surgery in form of cochlear implant or BAHA. That's where we can help.
The hearing status of the child defines the treatment plan as the profound deafness without any benefit from hearing aid warrants cochlear implant. But if hearing loss is moderate or moderately severe then hearing aid followed by speech therapy will be an answer to the problem.
So all kids with hearing loss don't require cochlear implant. When the diagnosis is made about profound hearing loss then long term commitment from parents is required as the surgery is not the end of the process, rehabilitation and speech therapy with disciplined involvement of parents is needed otherwise the benefit will not be optimum and all the efforts may go vain. Some parents may opt for teaching the child for alternate ways of communication. These alternative methods of communication are not the proper answer to the problem. when the age is appropriate and the hearing assessment & radiological assessment establishes the candidacy for cochlear implant surgery then one should think of getting the implant surgery as early as possible. If the age of child is more (when the capacity of brain to learn speech and language has already exceeded), then the benefit in form of sound awareness will be there only with cochlear implant. So one has to keep in mind that if indicated cochlear implant surgery should be done between 1-2 years of age. To assess the hearing threshold battery of tests are required.