Several fascinating articles on cochlear implants and literacy appeared in the recent world press, some of which are collated here for reading.
Early Child Literacy
Child literacy improves when a cochlear implant is accessed before age 3, to maximise a child’s residual hearing, and to address early vocabulary gaps with activities like parent-child talking interactions and book-reading.
Read: NY Times: A Son’s Deafness Prompts A Scientific Journey
The article on the link above, has one inconsistency:
“Children with hearing aids or cochlear implants… speak the same language they are learning to read, and can benefit from phonics. But cochlear implant surgery cannot be done earlier than 6 to 8 months, so deaf children have no exposure to language during that time.”
Research shows that all babies regardless of hearing, instinctively lip-read from about 6 to 12 months, to learn the mouth-shapes for talking. This lip-reading (with baby hearing-aids before surgery) builds vital parent-infant bonding and prepares for language interactions once an implant is in place.
After age 3, a child’s brain is less receptive to spoken language.
This fact is confirmed by Anita Grover, the new CEO of UK-based spoken-language service provider Auditory-Verbal UK (AV-UK), who says:
“There is a very small window [with] plasticity in a young brain, which means… a real opportunity to maximise the development of listening and spoken language. If you get the early intervention right with the right technology and habilitation then you get the opportunity for deaf children to realise their potential. And that potential should be the same as a hearing child.”
Read: Bionic Ears: let’s hear it for cochlear implants
Two Ears For Hearing
Hearing with both ears (as possible) benefits children and adults, since ears synergise as a pair, much like eyes do. In the UK, adults are advocating for the NHS to offer bilateral cochlear implants, while children in Australia with single-sided deafness are starting to get an implant in that ear:
Read: Two ears are best – implants for unilateral hearing issues
For a child with hearing issues, words are the foundation for literacy – and the overriding evidence is that hearing words benefits literacy, whether the child derives their insights from the phonics or word-rhythm detected.
Read: Toddler appreciates implant for single-sided deafness
- How Listening And Speaking Lifts Literacy Levels
- Hear More Words, Speak More Words – Literally
- Baby is ‘youngest’ in UK to get cochlear implants
- Ten-month-old hears mother for first time, with implants
- Blackwater toddler’s Hear and Say
- Texas Toddler Hears For The First Time With Implants
- Two sisters in Australia have implants activated same day
- Implants have changed Eloise’s world
- Alice’s Ears: The Story About My Ears
- Welcome To… Lichtenstein (not Holland)
- Implants power Izaac’s speech
- Researchers seek to improve hearing-devices
- Students strive to overcome challenges at school
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