- 4 weeks after surgery, after the stitches have healed, the child returns to the implant center to be fitted with the outside parts of the device and to have the speech processor “mapped” or programmed.
- The first few months of implant use, as hearing improves, reprogramming happens often; later on fewer visits are required.
The first visit is about two hours long and has the following goals:
- Fit the sound processor, microphone, headpiece
- Create a “first-pass” map or program that is comfortable for the child. More maps will also be created for the child to try before the next clinic visit
- Counsel family about the use of the device, troubleshooting, equipment care and maintenance
- Complete Product Registration and Warranty information
- The speech processor is connected to a computer
- The appointment will begin with a check of the internal device (impedances)
- Some or all of the electrodes may be stimulated. Each electrode carries a slightly different frequency or pitch.
- If old enough, the child may report when sound is heard. Younger children play a game to indicate when a sound is detected. For very young children, parents and audiologists observe the child’s behavior for any evidence that sound is heard.
- Responses vary and can range from crying, to smiling, to no response at all.
- You are welcome to invite a few family members or educators/therapists to the visits and you may videotape at the appointments. Please keep the size of our clinic rooms in mind when you are inviting guests.
- Because of the quick adaptation of the hearing system, many mapping changes are needed in the first year of cochlear implant use. For this reason, we have made the following schedule after surgery:
- First fit (3-4 weeks after surgery)
- Following first fit:
- 2 weeks
- 5 weeks
- 9 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 year
- Children are then seen at six month intervals while they are school aged and then they are seen once per year
- Parents may schedule more appointments as needed.
- Before children with normal hearing learn to speak, they spend over a year listening to sounds around them.
- Speech and language develops with time and experience.
- Expose your child to a lot of spoken language by reading aloud every day and by talking about things that happen in your home and during the school day.
- The guidance of an experienced speech and hearing professional is important to help parents learn the best ways to help a child make progress.
- With full time use and appropriate therapy in place, expect the cochlear implant to provide useful sound and improved hearing with practice and patience.
- Auditory-based therapy is critical to your child’s success with a cochlear implant.
- Every child is unique!