Children's Hearing (Audiology)

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Cochlear Implants

Whether to get a cochlear implant is a big decision. It is an even greater responsibility when you are making the decision for your child. Since 2003, the cochlear implant program at Children's of Mississippi has helped hearing-impaired children throughout the Southeast to improve their sound awareness and communication. 

Providing the only comprehensive pediatric cochlear implant program in the state, our center offers infants and children with severe to profound hearing loss the option of long-term hearing and oral communication. Children referred to our center undergo an interdisciplinary evaluation to determine their candidacy for cochlear implantation. The information obtained from this evaluation helps the team and the parents make the best decision for the child.

The cochlear implant, commonly called a "bionic ear," has two main parts: an external sound processor and an internal electrode array. The microphone, sound processor and coil are located in an external, removable headpiece commonly worn on the ear. The external sound processor transmits the information via radio frequency signals to the implant beneath the skin. The internal coil then relays the signal to the electrodes which directly stimulate the nerve inside the inner ear. 

Infants with severe to profound hearing loss should be referred to our center as soon as possible. Early implantation is a key factor in the degree of benefit obtained. Families are counseled that cochlear implants will not instantly restore hearing and that rehabilitation with a speech-language pathologist is essential to success. Those who are deemed candidates and can commit to the rehabilitation process will then meet with the surgeon and undergo an MRI scan of the temporal bones. 

We work with each family to coordinate appointments as much as possible to minimize the number of trips to our center. 

The surgery lasts about two hours and is performed on an outpatient basis or as an overnight stay. Approximately 4 weeks after surgery, the initial programming of the device is completed by your child’s audiologist and multiple subsequent sessions help fine-tune the stimulus levels to hear sounds optimally. Children will also see a speech-language pathologist for ongoing therapy. 

While several factors may affect your child’s outcome with their cochlear implant, including age at implantation and the family’s commitment to rehabilitation, most children benefit greatly from the surgery and treatment plan. Please contact us to schedule an evaluation and to further discuss your child’s needs. 

Children's of Mississippi cochlear implant patient is among the youngest in the world