Before & After Cochlear Implants

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A cochlear implant is a device that can help your child hear. It transforms sound into electrical impulses and transmits them to the inner ear. These impulses stimulate the nerve associated with hearing, the cochlear nerve, to provide sound. 

The implant includes an external device to detect the sound (the microphone), a device to convert the sound into electrical impulses (the speech processor) and a device to transmit these electrical impulse patterns across the skin to the internal device.

The Treatment Team

Anyone receiving a cochlear implant will see:

  • An audiologist for diagnostics and training before and after the implant
  • An ENT surgeon to implant the device

Is Your Child Eligible for an Implant?

At UVA, we give children a series of tests to assess basic hearing milestones. If your child can't demonstrate these skills with hearing aids and has profound hearing loss, they may be a candidate for a cochlear implant.

Before the Implant

To aid in the decision-making process about your options and to help you prepare for a cochlear implant, we:

  • Offer counseling sessions for parents of children newly diagnosed with hearing loss
  • Provide a pre-implant evaluation of current speech, language and auditory skills
  • Discuss with potential candidates their reasons for wanting a cochlear implant 
  • Evaluate the level of personal and family commitment

After Cochlear Implant Surgery

UVA offers a unique, therapeutic educational program for children with implants. After surgery, a speech-language pathologist and an auditory verbal therapist works closely with your child to help them learn to process sounds and develop speech and language skills.

Our specialists: 

  • Work closely with schools to help in the development of an appropriate education plan
  • Serve as a resource to regional educational and therapeutic programs
  • Provide a post-implant evaluation of speech, language and auditory skill development
  • Offer post-implant rehabilitation therapy, using listening and spoken language strategies and techniques 

Principles For Success

Many factors contribute to the success of auditory skill development. A child's success with a cochlear implant depends upon the collaboration between families and providers.

We help you help your child move through the process with:

  • High expectations — We offer counseling to help you understand how your expectations and attitudes impact a child's progress.
  • Audiological management — For the implant to function well, you'll need to keep regular appointments with the audiologists.
  • Family support — As parents, you'll have specific speech, language and auditory goals to target with your child on a daily basis.
  • Educational support — We provide consultation services and in-service trainings for private and school-based professionals serving children with implants.