Children with Cochlear Implant

Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation for Children with Cochlear Implant

Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation for Children with Cochlear Implant

In this blog, we are talking about Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation for Children with Cochlear Implant. Speech and hearing rehabilitation is for all children diagnosed with hearing loss. This blog is for you. Are you thinking “what after the surgery? The answer is “Speech Therapy or Auditory Verbal Training”.

A speech therapist will train your child to listen and communicate. You can read more on the role of speech therapist 

How do we hear – The Hearing Mechanism

  • The sound of anything in our surroundings travels through the air. This is a sound wave.
  • This sound wave travels through our ears. It strikes the thin eardrum.
  • This membrane sets the ossicles or our ear bones into vibration. Further stimulates the snail-shaped organ of hearing i.e. the cochlea.
  • The cochlea is linked to the auditory nerve. Further sends a signal to our auditory cortex. The auditory cortex is an area of our brain. It processes sound signals.

So, don’t you think the process takes hours? In reality, all these happen in a fraction of a second. That’s the speed which we hear.

For further understanding see related video here

How is Cochlear Implant different from a Hearing aid?

Now let’s talk about a cochlear implant. So Cochlear Implant is an electronic device that is surgically inserted into our cochlea. This has both internal and external parts. The external part is placed out and the internal part is inserted in the cochlea. This in turn provides stimulations to the auditory nerve. That helps us to restore lost hearing in adults or children.

Difference between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aids: Are they the same or different? What makes them different?

A cochlear implant (CI) and a hearing aid. Are they the same or different? They are different.

A cochlear implant with hearing loss restoration. A hearing aid makes sounds louder but will not improve speech understanding. Although, fitted with top-end hearing aids and still the person struggles to understand speech. So, then he can be a candidate for a cochlear implant. Getting the CI done won’t simply improve his listening. Listening training is needed.

Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation: Training with CI:

Training should be in such a way that they listen and communicate to the world. And this training is called speech therapy.

Hearing and speech identification in adults will definitely improve if the device is tuned right.  Cochlear implants in infants and toddlers do need speech therapy.

The audiologist will turn on the cochlear implants after the surgery. The team maps/programs them over several weeks to meet your child’s hearing needs. They’ll also teach you how to care and use it.

Children with cochlear implants begin auditory rehabilitation (listening therapy)  soon after the switch on. Auditory rehabilitation helps a child identify sounds and associate meanings.

Speech and Hearing Tips for Children with Cochlear Implant :

Listening Training :

  • The most important skill is basic tuning for listening.
  • Start by teaching people working with the kid about the implant and its use.
  • Parents should make sure to assist their kids in using the implant.
  • The range of frequencies and intensities will be very narrow on the first go.
  • The audiologist will tune or map in such a way that the client will be hearing a very narrow range of frequencies and intensities of sounds. So that it does not overwhelm the child.  And improve speech sound detection gradually. Since the child is totally naive to the world of sounds we have to be careful while exposing them to sounds.

Listening for children with cochlear implants:

  • Listening training should be in such a way that your child understands that sounds have meaning. The child should enjoy listening to the sounds.
  • A listening tour around the home to make your child listen to different sounds of nature (animal cries) and other household sounds such as pressure cooker, doorbell, etc can aid sound stimulation.
  • You can always use phrases like “Oh! I heard that I heard a_____” and reveal the source after a brief pause, and highlight the keyword/source, etc. Use mother ease to talk to your child so that they have the intention to attend to your speech.
  • Not only environmental sounds, but stimulating speech sounds is also equally important to enhance easier communication skill development.

Speech therapy tips for children with cochlear implants – How to stimulate speech sounds and words :

  • Try to engage in structured play. While playing, use a wide variety of pitches, loudness, and sound durations in your voice (motherese). This will provide input for the child across the spectrum of sounds they have access to.
  • Producing different sounds enables a newly implanted child to more easily differentiate the sounds and attach meaning to them.
  •  For e.g, when you play with bubbles and when it goes up, you can model, “up….up….up” using an increasingly rising intonation for each repetition of the word “up.” When the bubbles come down, you can model “dooooooooown” with falling intonation.
  • Here you’re making the two sounds very different from each other in terms of pitch (rising vs. falling) and duration (short intermittent sounds vs. one long sound).
  • Remember to talk to your child. Avoid using gestures and do not appreciate lip reading. Continue to stimulate the child with different verbal and nonverbal sounds. Make sure this doesn’t excite the child and overload them. The important point here is to associate every sound your child listens with its meaning or source of origin.

Hence, the above speech therapy tips for children with cochlear implants will benefit your child after the implant. Further, remember to seek professional help as it’s your child’s future. Auditory verbal therapy is an unavoidable rehabilitation post cochlear implantation.

For any further queries, assessment and therapy, feel free to contact our expert speech therapist at 1Specialplace.

Book your appointment now




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