In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lowered the recommended age requirement to 12 months of age. While this is the FDA-recommended age, this age is not legally binding and some hospital centers are completing the procedure earlier based on expectations of improved outcomes for early implantation. In addition, specific circumstances may allow for earlier implantation. For example, if meningitis is the cause of hearing loss, it may be important for the child to be implanted as early as possible as this condition causes ossification (bone build up) in the cochlea, making it increasingly difficult to surgically insert the electrode array as time passes. Note: There may be questions related to insurance payment for the procedure if it is completed prior to 12 months of age.
Who Is a Candidate? A child who is failing to progress in speech, language, and listening development with traditional hearing aids based on parent reports and educational information may be considered as a candidate
Family willingness to follow recommendations; enroll in speech, language, and listening therapy; and return for follow-up appointments are factors in candidacy.
Having no medical contraindications to electrode insertion or receiver placement is a factor in candidacy.
Educational and home environments that are supportive of cochlear implants are factors in candidacy.
Who Is Not a Candidate? Some characteristics of a child who may not be a candidate for a cochlear implant include:
1) A child that does not have the eighth nerve (auditory nerve) which carries sound from the cochlea to the brain as determined by a CAT scan (x-ray) and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) during the candidacy process
2) A child who has significant residual hearing levels and receives good benefit from traditional hearing aid devices.
Hedges Regional Speech and Hearing • 2615 E Randolph • Enid, OK • 580-234-3734