If your child is considered as a candidate for a cochlear implantation by a doctor or an ENT-doctor, you and your child will be referred to a cochlear implant centre. Here, a medical team of specialists will carry out pre-operative assessments which consist of a series of tests and evaluations to find out if a cochlear implant is the right solution for your child.
Pre-lingual hearing loss
For children who have a pre-lingual sensorineural hearing loss, early implantations are recommended as they enable the development of language skills from an early age. The hearing loss may be inherited (genetic hearing loss) or it may have occurred during pregnancy, at birth or in the early months after birth as a result of infections or other diseases. Typically, the implantation is performed from around 12 months and before 24 months. Earlier implantations can also occur. In each case, the professionals and specialists will guide you.
Post-lingual hearing loss
If your child has a post-lingual, severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, e.g. as a result of meningitis or another disease or condition, it is recommended that the implantation is carried out as soon as possible after the hearing loss is identified.
One or two implants
If your child has a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, two cochlear implants are recommended. Research has shown that children with two implants often perform better than children with just one. Hearing with both ears makes it possible to better localise sound, aids speech understanding in noisy environments and allows stereo perception of sound. Listening with two ears also normally requires less mental effort than hearing with just one ear.
If your child is going to have two cochlear implants, the implantations can be performed at the same time or the second implantation can be performed some time after the first. Here again, the specialist will guide and help you.
Single sided deafness
A cochlear implant can also be the solution if your child has single sided deafness (unilateral hearing loss). In this case, a cochlear implant will be implanted into the “deaf ear”.