As part of the cochlear implant process, a pre-implant evaluation is necessary to determine if a child is a candidate for a cochlear implant. Assessments and procedures included in the evaluation should be conducted by a multidisciplinary team with experience in working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The purpose of this is to orient a child and his or her family to the cochlear implant and the cochlear implantation process. Topics generally discussed with a family may include:
As part of the pre-implant evaluation, an audiologist will measure the child's hearing levels. Testing will also be completed to see if amplification with appropriately fit hearing aids/hearing devices can provide enough auditory information.
An Ear, Nose, & Throat (ENT) surgeon determines if a child can safely undergo general anesthesia and reviews imaging such as a CT scan or an MRI to ensure that the cochleae are suitable for insertion of the electrode array. The physician will also look for any other medical conditions that would prevent the use of an implant.
Because children who have a cochlear implant are at a greater risk for contracting meningitis than children who do not have a cochlear implant, the physician will also ensure that the appropriate vaccinations for protection against pneumococcal bacteria have been ordered and completed.
The following links from the CDC.gov website may be helpful:
A speech/language pathologist (SLP) conducts an evaluation that looks at the child's overall communication abilities, including receptive and expressive language, functional auditory skills, speech production and play skills. The SLP will also discuss the child's potential for growth in these areas.
A variety of tools may be used to gather this information including:
The results of this evaluation are used to determine the child's areas of strength, to identify ways to help the child further develop communication skills, and to serve as a baseline from which to compare subsequent performance.
The purpose for discussing expectations is to determine if a family has an understanding of:
Vestibular testing, which evaluates the balance system, may be requested to:
A psychosocial assessment looks at factors that can influence adjustment to or benefit from a cochlear implant. For instance, if family dynamics or behavioral problems present potential obstacles to success with a cochlear implant, appropriate intervention can be recommended or provided.
A psychosocial assessment might also be used to:
Cochlear implant candidates may be referred for a neuropsychological evaluation if there is some concern about cognitive impairment that could impact the ability to actively participate in post-implant processes.
The social worker provides:
For more information on varying cultural views of cochlear implantation, please visit the following websites: