Speech Therapy

Early Cochlear Implant Develops Speech in the Deaf

The work published by Dr. Johanna Grany Nicholas and Dr. Ann.E.Geers from the Universities of Washington and Texas, suggests, cochlear implant in deaf children as early as the age of three and half would develop a superior speech in them. Generally, children who are born deaf cannot also develop speech as they are unable to perceive sounds.

Cochlear Implant: A cochlear implant is an electronic device surgically implanted in order to aid the hearing of a severely deaf person. Ironically, ninety percent of the children who are born deaf are born to parents who do not have any kind of hearing problems.

  • Normal parents would no nothing of deafness and tackling a deaf child would become utterly difficult. Neither the parents would know sign language to teach nor can understand it . As parents, you would love to hear your child speak.
  • The research conducted by the doctors amongst 76 children who were three and a half years old with cochlear implants showed some extremely positive results. The doctors tested the language skills of these children against the number of years they have had their implant.
  • The doctors observed that the longer the implant time, the better was the ability of the children to produce complex sentences with richer vocabulary. They also observed a frequent use of irregular words. These reports can be found in the Ear and Hearing issue published in June 2006.

Pros and Cons: When compared to the natural hearing aids, cochlear implant is far better for grasping sounds and the amount of information grasped is also more. Kids can grasp sounds with high frequency easily allowing them to develop their vocabulary skills like plurals and tenses.

  • But on the other side, diagnosing deafness at a young age can be tough and even if diagnosed, the idea of an implant into a kid’s head would make the parent’s hesitate.

The doctors suggest that kids who have early cochlear implant can even start their schooling like a normal child (when four and half years old). But, it is for the parents to decide if they want their young kids to undergo a head surgery at such an early age.

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