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Adjusting to a New Cochlear Implant for a Child

Carissa Moeggenberg ., M.A.,CCC

June 18, 2007

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Question

Our daughter, age 3, is getting a HiResolution Cochlear Implant this Friday. I'm wondering....when we first amplified Ali with her Phonak hearing aid on the left side, she did not tolerate it very well, and still had significant balance problems. One ye

Answer

First of all I want to wish you and your daughter the best of luck as you begin your journey with the cochlear implant. You ask very good questions and I would encourage you to speak with your surgeon and audiologist regarding your questions if you have not already done so to get their opinions.

It is not uncommon for young children with a severe to profound hearing loss to also have associated balance problems as the vestibular system may also have anomalies associated with the etiology of the hearing loss. However, children are resilient and with time the vestibular system can learn to compensate. Additionally, in rare instances, dizziness and imbalance have been reported following initial stimulation of a cochlear implant. These symptoms usually dissipate with time and use of the cochlear implant. You should talk with your surgeon and audiologist to learn more about what you should expect for your child.

Another item to consider would be the use of a hearing aid on the non-implanted ear following surgery and following her initial stimulation. After surgery, hearing aid use in the implanted ear is not generally recommended. Therefore, your daughter will use only one hearing aid again. You should discuss the possibility for imbalance and dizziness during the recovery period, based on your daughter's past experience, with your audiologist. At your daughter's cochlear implant initial stimulation, you should also discuss the options and reasons for continuing the use of a hearing aid on the non-implanted ear.

In recent years there has been a growing trend to provide bilateral cochlear implants to children and adults who are severe to profoundly hearing impaired. There are a number of reasons, such as localization and hearing in noise, why two implants, like two hearing aids may provide "better hearing" than one implant. Research trials are currently underway with the HiResolution Bionic Ear System to determine the benefits of bilateral implantation. So, you ask an important question about the possibility for your daughter to have 2 implants, given her past experience with two versus one hearing aid, which you should discuss further with your cochlear implant team.

Cochlear implants have proven to be a successful treatment option for children and adults who are severe to profoundly hearing impaired. The journey of sound with a cochlear implant is about to begin for your daughter and with strong family support, intensive therapy, time and experience a world of oral communication and hearing independence is within reach.

For more information on Advanced Bionics, visit www.bionicear.com

Carissa Moeggenberg is an Educational Specialist with Advanced Bionics Corporation. She joined Advanced Bionics in 2002 as a Clinical Specialist. She recently joined the Auditory Education and Training Department. Prior to joining Advanced Bionics Carissa was at the University of Michigan Medical Center where she served as a pediatric cochlear implant audiologist for 10 years. She lives in Michigan with her husband and 2 children.


carissa moeggenberg

Carissa Moeggenberg ., M.A.,CCC