In the US, two to three children in every 1000 births is born profoundly deaf, 90% of these babies into hearing families. The average age for a baby to receive a cochlear implant is falling, with research showing babies of 6 to 9 months to benefit more from the technology, than even at 12 months, and again at 18 months.
After implantation, families need to work on the baby’s listening, speaking and vocabulary skills, while committing to appointments for implant tuning and reviews – but the upside is, getting to share sounds as a family group and exploring the world around themselves.
Cochlear implants are now more accepted by the signing deaf community, as this piece shows – but some are still seeking to find that middle ground.
Most importantly, says speech teacher, Angi Martin-Prudent at Illinois State University,
There is a critical age at which children develop language – the more access to sound and communication the infant has [with devices], the easier it is to develop age-appropriate speech and language skills.
For prelingual children with cochlear implants, listening skills and spoken language are developed through family life and ongoing interaction between the child and their parents, with siblings, grandparents and other caregivers – which positively builds their literacy skills.
- Cochlear implants – the full details
- Bilateral Cochlear Implants – Hearing With Two Ears
- Cochlear Implants Appreciated By Their Recipients
- ” What It Feels Like … to have a deaf child ” (Oliver Dennis)