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Hearing Pocket

Cochlear Implant Education

Learning Center for Parents: Increasing Your Knowledge to Better Serve Your Child

Introduction
This section will help show you, the parent of a hearing impaired child, how to increase your knowledge about cochlear implants and the care associated with them.

Your familiarity with this subject makes a tremendous difference in your child's progress. Although your child receives care from experienced professionals such as audiologists and therapists, ultimately you are the child's primary advocate for success. This information gives you the confidence to make the proper decisions that are so vital for your child's successful development.

The Approach
This guide focuses primarily on information relating to the method that is called the “Auditory-Verbal” approach. The Auditory-Verbal approach promotes the use of hearing devices for listening and the use of spoken language for communication. This method is preferred simply because it works the best. We have seen it to be consistently successful in teaching hearing impaired children to listen and speak as well as normal hearing children. This method works especially well in children with cochlear implants. It is the way that most cochlear implant children are being trained today. By focusing on listening and learning language, the child develops on par with their normal-hearing peers and is successfully integrated as fully functioning members of society.

Sources of Information
This guide lists recommended sources of information that present information in a clear, straight forward manner, and they are listed in the specific categories below. In general, when searching for information related to the topic of hearing loss in children, there are some guidelines to keep in mind.

A. Internet Websites
The Internet is a valuable source of information for all topics under the sun, and the same is true with regards to information regarding this subject. Keep in mind a few pointers when looking around online:

  • How old is the information? Many websites have information that is very outdated. Check the date of the posting to make sure it is current.
  • Is the author of the same opinion as you? Just about every opinion out there has a website promoting their theories. Sniff around the site first before you take any of the information too seriously. Make certain that the site accepts the views of the method that you are using for your child, and that the writer is qualified to present the information.
  • Is the information of any value to you? The information should be presented in clear, uncluttered format. The material should be easy to understand, and should catch your interest. Dry, technical articles are of little benefit to most parents, and should be avoided.

B. Membership Organizations
Many parents join membership organizations and other associations for the hearing and speech impaired. These can be a great source of information and guidance in caring for your child. Many of these organizations have members all over North America, and some even span the globe.

It is important to make sure the organization agrees with the methods you have adopted in the care of your hearing impaired child. Beware of the organizations that support the concept of “the deaf culture”, as they tend to discourage the use of cochlear implants.

C. Support Groups
Support Groups made up of similarly situated parents of young cochlear implant children are probably the most valuable source of information. These provide a way for you to interact with each other and to hear what regular people just like you have experienced with their children. We have found these forums to be extremely helpful for parents, not only by the knowledge gained, but also by sharing the experience emotionally with one another. This kind of support is something that one can never fully receive from the professionals. At the cochlear implant support meetings, we have found that people are very happy to share their experiences with each other as the common bond between everyone connects quite easily.

To find a support group in your area, ask your audiologist. If you live away from any kind of organized group, you can try the online forums in our list.

View our Web Resources for hearing impairment and cochlear implants.