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COCHLEAR IMPLANT FOR CHILDREN. WHEN IS THE RIGHT AGE?

If your child is living with hearing loss and are not getting enough assistance from their current hearing aids, a cochlear implant may help them. Hearing aids are basic devices that only amplify sounds but may be obstructed by damaged areas in the ear. On the other hand, cochlear implants can bypass those damaged areas and send signals directly to the auditory nerves. In this article, we will be explaining why cochlear implants are suitable for children and why you should make the right move to them from your child’s usual hearing aids. 

What are cochlear implants?

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that assists in providing a sense of sound to a person who is deaf by birth or has a severe loss of hearing. The device consists of an external portion that rests behind the ear and an internal portion that is usually surgically placed under the skin.

How does a cochlear implant work?

The device is made of 4 components which work together in transmitting external audio signals into sounds which are then sent to different parts of the auditory nerve that proceeds on to sending these audio messages to the brain.

  • Microphone: Picks up any sound from the surrounding environment.
  • Speech processor: Selects and arranges the sets of sounds picked up by the microphone, into signals.
  • Transmitter + receiver: Receives signals from the speech processor and converts them into electric impulses.
  • Electrode array: The coded electronic signals are then collected by a group of electrodes, which proceeds to send them to the appropriate hearing nerve fibres.

Why are cochlear implants good for children?

Cochlear implantation is a safe and reliable treatment for children with severe to extreme hearing disabilities. The acquisition of hearing for these children is the primary benefit children receive from these advanced devices, which promotes and aids the development of spoken language and conversations.

Other potential benefits from a cochlear implant includes:

  • Improved ability to comprehend speech when used with lip-reading.
  • Increased levels of awareness and identification of surrounding environmental sounds.
  • Potential to watch TV programmes or movies more easily, especially when they can also see the speaker(s)’s faces and understand speech through lip reading.

When is the right age?

Here comes the big question – when is the right and suitable age for children to receive cochlear implantation surgery? Children as young as one year of age are allowed to be implanted with the device. The earlier the implantation takes place, the better the outcome will be. It is best to have the treatment before your child reaches the age of 3, as early as possible.

At Cochlear Implant Singapore, we have more than 4 decades of global and regional experience in the assessment of hearing, consultations, and treatments. We aim to be a safe space for people who have undergone cochlear implant or are planning to, as well as for their loved ones too. If you are not sure which cochlear implant to choose, do book a consultation with us today to find out more about cochlear implant treatment options for your child.

Do note that no cochlear implant is able to restore hearing to normal completely. However, with this small electronic aid, it can open your child’s world to much more joys, such as carrying on a conversation and participating in daily activities.

(Image from Pexels)

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