Cochlear Implant Program
What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Cochlear implants provide a sense of sound to a person by doing the work of damaged parts of the inner ear to send sound signals to the brain.
An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
A cochlear implant works very differently to a hearing aid. A cochlear implant is an electronic device made up of two parts; a surgically implanted component and an externally worn speech component that looks much like a hearing aid.
- The external component picks up sound through a microphone. It then changes the sound into digital code.
- This code then travels through the skin to the implanted component.
- The implant converts the code into electrical impulses.
- The hearing nerve is then stimulated and the end results is the sensation of hearing.
- Any infant/child with a bilateral severe to profound hearing loss
- Any infant/child who is unable to adequately access all the sounds of speech through their hearing aid
- Any infant/child who has worn hearing aids for a monitored period and made little or no progress in developing spoken language
How do cochlear implants help children with hearing loss?
At Telethon Speech & Hearing, we advocate for world-class early intervention services that give children who are deaf or hard of hearing the opportunity to develop spoken language.
In order to do this, the brain needs to be able to hear all the sounds of speech. Hearing aids make all sounds louder, however, sometimes hearing aids cannot effectively overcome the extent of the damage to the inner ear. When this happens a cochlear implant may help.
Who may be eligible for cochlear implantation?
An infant or child may be suitable for cochlear implants if they:
- Have a bilateral severe to profound hearing loss
- Are unable to adequately access all the sounds of speech through their hearing aid
- Have worn hearing aids for a monitored period and made little or no progress in developing spoken language.
Children who are potential cochlear implant recipients are assessed on a case-by-case basis by a multi-disciplinary team. Cochlear, middle ear and bone conduction implant assessment and management for children in Western Australia is run by the Perth Children’s Hospital and its Children’s Hearing Implant Program (CHIP).
Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) Support
Hearing aids and/or cochlear implants assist the ear to hear sounds and send them to the brain. However, it is through early intervention services that parents and the child access the support needed to assist the child’s brain to make sense of sounds. This supports communication development.
Here at Telethon Speech & Hearing, we provide early intervention for the management of your child’s hearing loss using a multi-disciplinary and family centred approach. Learn more about our early intervention services for children with hearing loss here.