The process of getting a cochlear implant for your child may seem daunting, and you will have questions, however the result can be very rewarding. The steps you take for your child can help make all the difference for learning, growing and becoming independent throughout life. You will have a support team including your child's audiologist and speech therapist along the way, and we'll be there for your family as well.
Your child will be evaluated to determine if the level of hearing loss qualifies for a cochlear implant. There will be medical and audiological assessments, including X-ray scans and possibly an MRI to help determine whether a cochlear implant could be a solution for your child. If your child qualifies, the cochlear implant team will discuss benefits and risks with your family and schedule the surgery once insurance approval is obtained.
Once it is determined that your child is a candidate and could benefit from a cochlear implant, the next step is to work with your child's audiologist to obtain insurance approval for the implant procedure and cochlear implant system. Your child's audiologist will submit the necessary paperwork to the insurance company on your behalf.
Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants may be covered by your insurance plan including Medicaid. Consult with your insurance company as soon as possible regarding eligibility of coverage for your child.
All cochlear implants are designed to restore access to sound in a similar fashion, yet there are noticeable differences between devices. Your considerations should go beyond the product which could advance many times over your child’s life. You will want to consider the company and track record to help you decide the best partner for your child for life.
The idea of surgery can be intimidating, especially for your child. Fortunately, the cochlear implant procedure is fairly routine, typically taking three hours or less and performed under general anesthesia. The risks of the implant surgery are low, and most children are up and about the very next day. To provide you with added peace of mind, go to Cochlear Connections Opens in new window to find other parents you can speak with who have been through this exact same experience. They will often tell you that the worries they had themselves about the surgery were greatly diminished by the hope and benefits that the cochlear implant would provide for their child.
This is the moment your family has been waiting for. Three to four weeks after surgery, your audiologist will activate the cochlear implant, and your child will begin to experience the joy of sound through the implant. This is a very exciting day, but you should have realistic expectations. Every child is different and reacts to sound differently. The audiologist will program the sound processor for volume and pitch levels that are most appropriate based on your child’s reactions to the sounds. How your child reacts to sounds at this first visit often is not an indication of future hearing performance. Activation is just the beginning of a new journey to better hearing for your child.
Just as with any surgery, rehabilitation is critical to your child’s hearing progress and success. Over the next several months after activation, your child will have a series of appointments with the audiologist to adjust and fine-tune the sound processor's programs to help ensure optimal hearing performance and that progress being made is meeting your expectations. Rehabilitation will also occur outside the audiologist's office. In fact, rehabilitation at home is critical to your child’s overall hearing and learning success. That’s why we offer robust and easy-to-use rehabilitation programs through The Communication Corner Opens in new window that can be tailored to your child’s needs at every learning level.
You will also want to take care of your child's new Implant System by following the guidelines provided for care and maintenance of the device to get the most out of the System. We offer many "how to" videos on myCochlear, and our Customer Service team can help answer questions you may have. We understand that things can happen though, and when they do, you'll find comfort with our 5-year "no questions asked" warranty as well as a one-time loss replacement policy.