Resources for the Cochlear Implant Journey

Our seminar, "Successes, Gaps and Challenges in CI Rehabilitation: The CI Journey for Children and their Families," addressed what resources children with cochlear implants and their families need to thrive. The switch-on moment of a child starts a long journey of therapy and work not only for the patient, but also for the family, especially the parents. The outcome of the journey is healthy, independent child, and a family that can provide the support the child needs.

Key points for a successful journey from the professional’s point of view are early diagnosis; counselling, including appropriately conveying information to someone who is not familiar with hearing loss and rehabilitation; and emotional support for family and child. During the early intervention and rehabilitation, the professional should find a balance between family- and child-centered care and realistic goals. Different transition stages should be taken into account during the therapy, which should be modified according to current needs.

Last but not least, it is important to be aware of other factors that impact the journey such as finances, cultures, and social and political structures. 

What We Learned About Needs

  • Move beyond the technicalities - strengthen the human connection
  • Flexible approach to care - each family is different!
  • Be aware how you give information - and how it is received
  • Meeting other families is key
  • Make sure parents do not need to fight
  • Friendly physical environment
  • Give hope!

What We Learned About Challenges

  • Working with different family backgrounds and cultures
  • Helping families make informed choices
  • Manage the hearing journey without "taking over" the child
  • Parents feel guilty if child does not progress as expected
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration

What We Learned About Successes

  • Tailored guidance on where to find relevant information
  • Audiologist is committed to the parents and shows empathy
  • Both parents are involved and integrated
  • Mindful communication
  • Provide positive reinforcement and celebrate small successes

To view other video interviews with parents about their child’s CI journey, click here.

Below are the lectures from the seminar.

After Implantation

Sue Archbold shares results of long-term management of children with CIs as they go from school to higher education to the workplace.

Duration: 28 min

An Educator's Perspective

Ruth Bourne shares her experience as a teacher of children with hearing loss and principal of the Carel du Toit Centre.

Duration: 24 min

The Parent-Driven Journey

Lone Percy-Smith talks about Decibel, a patient organization where parents choose communication means according to their values.

Duration: 21 min

Patient/Family Types and Decision-Making Models

Christine Yoshinaga-Itano presents some of the counseling methods audiology students are trained in.

Duration: 31 min

How does a cochlear implant work?

A cochlear implant is made up of two parts: an external processor and an internal receiver, which includes electrodes. The receiver is anchored under the skin to the bone behind the ear during a surgery that typically takes one to two hours. The processor is worn over the ear, and attaches to the wearer's head with a magnet to the internal receiver. Sound is transmitted to the internal receiver, which sends sound waves through the electrodes. The electrodes stimulate the cochlea, which provides sound information to the brain. The transmitted sound, however, is not exactly the same as what a hearing person would hear.

Image courtesy of Oticon Medical.