Speech and auditory training involves active participation in a therapy environment with a certified clinician, being it an auditory verbal therapist or a speech and language pathologist with emphasis in hearing. These professionals are readily available in most communities and can be accessed through a direct referral from your implanting physician and/or audiologist. Use of a prescription and direct referral will allow you to receive reimbursement thorough your private insurance.
Involvement in speech therapy may help the patient to make greater progress in hearing through the implant. Auditory verbal therapists as well as speech therapists will serve the patient by providing listening tools, therapy techniques, and goals for hearing to assist in the overall growth and achievement of maximum hearing. The aim for the therapists is for these listening skills to be transitioned and carried over to the patients' personal lives. Family members are highly encouraged to attend the therapy sessions to learn how to reproduce the techniques and similarly apply them at home. The therapy process can be a profitable and worthwhile learning experience for all involved. If you feel you are interested in seeking speech and auditory therapy post-implantation, you should consult your cochlear implant team or look for their recommendations for your general treatment.
Referrals from the physician for speech therapy and training typically come 3-6 months post activation with the implant, as the team needs the opportunity to evaluate your own personal growth in hearing with the cochlear implant. Additionally, this time will allow the patient to become comfortable with the implant and insure stability in the listening program and access to all speech sounds.
While speech and auditory training can be beneficial in the hearing process, most adult patients will not need this additional training to achieve good progress in hearing with their cochlear implant. By having an out-going personality as well as using the device consistently and attending the scheduled follow-up appointments, the patient should be able to meet the goals we have set forth as described in the "hierarchy of hearing."