Cochlear Implants: Making Sure Families Are Aware of the Full Picture

A young girl smiling at an audiologist

“When a child is identified as being deaf, a cochlear implant may be recommended early in the intervention process. For hearing families, this recommendation often comes with relief that there is a “medical fix” to providing their child with the ability to hear. While a cochlear implant provides significant benefit to many children, spoken language outcomes are extremely varied. This means that there should be a standard procedure, involving both medical and educational professionals, to provide families with the full spectrum of “what-ifs” and “what’s involved,” from surgery, to activation and monitoring of the device, to listening and spoken language training, to linguistic, educational, and social-emotional considerations. It is essential that families are provided with the full range of possible outcomes, opportunities, and needed services so they can make informed decisions about choosing a cochlear implant within the context of their “whole deaf child.”

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