Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants in children allow the deaf to hear.

Cochlear implants in children can help many children who are born deaf or who have become deaf, to hear conversation and sounds. Nemours cochlear implant program takes every aspect of your child’s auditory (hearing), developmental and social health into account. We help parents become experts on their child's hearing loss and learn how to be their child's advocate in all settings.

 
Read More About Cochlear Implants in Children

A cochlear implant is a device that surgeons implant to treat children with severe to profound hearing loss who get little or no benefit from hearing aids. Unlike a hearing aid, which delivers amplified sound to the cochlea (inner ear), the cochlear implant uses electrical signals to stimulate the hearing nerve directly.

Coupled with an external microphone and small sound processor, electrodes placed inside the child's inner ear stimulate the hearing nerve with a distinct code that the brain interprets as sound with the appropriate training and intervention. Nemours team approach offers comprehensive cochlear implants in children and auditory based therapeutic services to provide your child with the best chance to do well and overcome hearing loss.

Significant hearing loss can affect a child’s development in many ways, so cochlear implantation is a potentially life-changing procedure. At Nemours, we are committed to raising awareness about cochlear implantation in children within the general and medical communities.

Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando


13535 Nemours Parkway
Orlando, FL 32827
Get Map & Directions »
Learn More About This Location »

For Appointments: (407) 650-7715

Clinic Location: Second Floor

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 
What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
New Patients

Bring these forms for your first appointment:

Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
 
Forms & Resources
New Patient Forms
Returning Patient Forms
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families

The otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat, or “ENT”) surgeons at Nemours Children’s Hospital (NCH) in Orlando have changed the lives of children who have profound hearing loss with cochlear implantation. Our pediatric ENT surgeons have extensive training and perform common and complex ENT procedures in both healthy and medically complex children.

We’re proud to help children experience a new world of sound and language by providing comprehensive and convenient family-centered care.

Learn More About Pediatric Otolaryngology Services at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

Excellence in Cochlear Implantation in Children

The multidisciplinary cochlear implant program at Nemours Children’s Hospital is aimed at helping children with hearing loss (ages 12 months to 17 years) develop language and communication skills before, during and after cochlear implantation. Our doctors, who are named among the Best Doctors® in America in their respective fields, work together with an advanced team of audiologists and therapists to provide your child and family with the best possible care today, and in the future.

Your Child's Cochlear Implant Care Team

The NCH cochlear implant care team is made up of specialists with expertise in the many different aspects of cochlear implantation in children. The entire team is located under one roof (and very often of the same floor of our hospital) and available for same day appointments at your family’s convenience.

 
Members of Your Child’s Team

Your child’s cochlear implantation team includes pediatric:

 
Family-Centered Treatment and Care

At Nemours, you are an important part of your child’s care team, so we welcome your active involvement in the decision-making process. We also strive to make things as easy and convenient as possible for you and your child.

Because we believe in family-centered care, we welcome you to accompany your child all the way into the operating room and stay until the anesthesia medication takes effect. When families are involved, children have less anxiety and we can use less medication which results in kids waking up quicker and getting back to normal activities sooner. Together, we’re committed to your family and we’re here for the long-term through all of your child’s ages and stages.

Comprehensive Cochlear Implant Services

Cochlear implants in children increase hearing perception, but they don’t restore hearing. The device transmits sound information past the damaged cochlea (responsible for changing sounds into nerve messages for the brain) directly to the nerve of hearing. It is intended for children with severe to profound hearing loss who receive little to no benefit from hearing aids.

Your child’s implant team will coordinate all of the necessary pieces for cochlear implantation including:

  • preimplant evaluations
  • surgical care
  • postimplant details related to programming the device
  • training your child and family how to care for and operate the device
  • increasing your child’s speech and hearing skills
 
Candidates for Cochlear Implants
  • children up to 18 years old
  • diagnosis of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss (when there is damage to the inner ear [cochlea], or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain)
  • daily and consistent use of hearing aids fails to help
  • medically healthy to undergo implant surgery
  • appropriate family expectations and motivation

Therapy After Cochlear Implants and Beyond

It’s important to know that the implant procedure itself is only one part of the process. Many children with cochlear implants must learn or relearn how to hear and how to speak — even kids who were able to hear at some prior point in their lives. And, as with newborns, this takes time. Ongoing therapy and your family’s involvement, both before and after surgery, are critical to a successful outcome.

After the cochlear implant surgery, our speech and language pathologists will work one-on-one with your child to teach or re-teach speech and hearing skills using your primary language at home.

Learn About Speech and Language Therapy at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

 
Auditory-Verbal Therapy for Children

At Nemours, we have a certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS-certified) to assist your child with auditory-verbal therapy (AVT therapy). AVT therapy is a unique program that follows a set of guiding principles that emphasize early and consistent amplification, intense family participation and developing speech through natural patterns. The program focuses on the meaning and pragmatics of language rather than articulation — which means language is shaped, or “caught,” rather than taught.

 
Goals of Auditory-Verbal Therapy

The goal of auditory-verbal therapy is to maximize your child’s residual hearing in order to develop expressive speech that is melodic and natural. We work to develop natural-sounding speech and language so your child can become an excellent communicator and learn at a level similar or equal with hearing peers.

The methods used during therapy sessions are taught to parents, so you can continue the training at home in your child's natural environment.

 
What Can a Child With Cochlear Implants Hear?

The function of a cochlear implant depends on the innervation (number of nerves) of the cochlea and the child’s ability to adapt to the cochlear implant’s signals. The implant sends signals through about 20 distinct electrodes, which allows most kids to discriminate some pitches and understand speech in a quiet room within a few months of implantation.

Background noise or adjacent conversations may make speech difficult to understand at times. Some children who had normal or near-normal hearing before the hearing loss, or who have good hearing in their other ear, report that after six months or more of adaptation to the device, the cochlear implant audio quality is near normal. Others describe the sound as robotic, mechanical or tinny.

What to Expect When Your Child Needs Surgery

If your child needs surgery, you can trust the highly trained pediatric surgical team at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Our pediatric surgical specialists (surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses) understand what kids (and families) need, psychologically, and physically.

Because we truly believe in family-centered care, we invite you (one parent or guardian) to the operating room to be with your child until just after sedation. We also provide our families with a peaceful place to wait without leaving the surgical floor, in our beautiful rooftop garden.

 
What Happens During the Presurgical Visit

Before any type of surgical procedure, your child will require a presurgical visit. At this visit, you and your child will meet your surgeon, discuss the diagnosis and details of the operation, and get answers to all of your questions or concerns. You may also meet with an anesthesiologist if necessary.

We’ll call you before your visit so you'll know what to bring, like:
  • any medications your child is currently taking
  • your ID
  • insurance and/or Medicaid cards
  • proof of guardianship, if applicable

When you arrive for a presurgical visit, go directly to the presurgical clinic area on the second floor. There, the patient service representative will review and verify your information and insurance. You will also complete a medical history form.

A nurse practitioner will assist with the visit and order any necessary tests. She or he will also inform you about what to expect the day of the surgery, including:

  • how your family will be kept updated during the procedure
  • when you can expect the surgeon to come out and speak with you
  • when you can join your child in the recovery room

EmmiKids Programs: Online Educational Videos for Families

At the end of the presurgical visit, you and your child may have the option to view an online educational program from EmmiKids about the upcoming surgical procedure and the anesthesia. You can watch these programs at the hospital or you may choose to watch them at home or in your local library. We’ll give you an access code to view the program(s).

Learn More About EmmiKids at Nemours »

 
How to Prepare the Day Before Surgery

The day before surgery, the surgical services staff will call you to check on your child’s health status, give you a time of arrival for the next day, update you on feeding instructions, and answer any questions.

General Feeding/Drinking Instructions

No food, milk, formula or breast milk may be consumed after a specific time (provided by your surgeon) on the day of the surgery. Your child may only have apple juice, electrolyte replenishing/sports drinks or water up to four hours prior to scheduled surgery time. These are considered “clear liquids.” We ask that you do not substitute other juices. Special Note: Infants 11 months or younger may have breast milk, but only up to six hours prior to surgery.

Suggested items to pack for your child:
  • empty baby bottle or cup
  • special feeding or suction equipment (if needed)
  • bathrobe
  • slippers
  • socks
  • favorite stuffed animal and/or blanket
  • loose-fitting clothes
  • eyeglasses (if needed)
Please remove the following items from your child:
  • all jewelry — including earrings
  • fingernail polish
  • hair accessories
  • contact lenses
  • retainers
 
What Happens the Day of Surgery

On the day of surgery, we ask that you be here at the time instructed so your child’s surgery won’t be delayed. We encourage you to allow extra time in your travel plans in case of traffic or unexpected delays.

Parking and Where to Go in the Hospital

When you arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery, you can use our complimentary valet parking, or you can self-park in the garage near the outpatient entrance. Valet services are located at the outpatient entrance and are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Once inside the hospital, go straight to the surgical services desk on the second floor. There, the patient service representative will greet you, review your child’s information and insurance status, and check your child in. We’ll give you a case number, as well as a pamphlet with instructions about where to go and what to do during the waiting period. We’ll ask your child to change into a hospital gown and will then check vital signs: temperature, pulse, blood pressure and weight.

Just Before Surgery

While waiting for surgery, your child can play in our colorful, relaxing surgical commons area featuring many interactive games and activities to help reduce anxiety and pass the time. We also have a “toy store” where your child or teen can choose from a variety of gifts like stuffed animals, ball caps, and electronic items to keep.

When it’s close to the time for surgery, we’ll escort you and your child to an exam room, where you’ll meet the anesthesiologist and operating room nurse. As part of our unique family-centered model of care, our anesthesiologists may allow one parent to accompany your child to the operating room and stay until just after the anesthesia is administered.

During and Just After Surgery

You’ll be asked to stay in the surgical waiting area while your child is in the operating room. A nurse liaison or a trained volunteer will keep you updated during the procedure. If you need to leave the area for any reason, please inform a staff member.

After surgery, your child’s surgeon will come out to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have. We’ll inform you as soon as you can join your child in the recovery area or “wake up” room.

Patients must be fully awake before discharge. You should plan to stay in the recovery area for at least one hour (or longer, depending on your child). It’s very common for children to experience nausea and/or vomiting just after surgery, and also have a flushed face. We’ll offer clear liquids to drink when your child is ready. If your child will be admitted to the hospital after surgery, you’ll be given instructions ahead of time.

Once your child is ready for discharge, a nurse will review instructions with you regarding diet, wound care, medication, activity, and when your child should return to see the doctor. You may also be given prescriptions.

 
What to Expect During and Just After Surgery

You’ll be asked to stay in the surgical waiting area while your child is in the operating room. A nurse liaison or a trained volunteer will keep you updated during the procedure. If you need to leave the area for any reason, please inform a staff member.

After surgery, your child’s surgeon will come out to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have. We’ll inform you as soon as you can join your child in the recovery area or “wake up” room.

Patients must be fully awake before discharge. You should plan to stay in the recovery area for at least one hour (or longer, depending on your child). It’s very common for children to experience nausea and/or vomiting just after surgery, and also have a flushed face. We’ll offer clear liquids to drink when your child is ready. If your child will be admitted to the hospital after surgery, you’ll be given instructions ahead of time.

Once your child is ready for discharge, a nurse will review instructions with you regarding diet, wound care, medication, activity, and when your child should return to see the doctor. You may also be given prescriptions.

 
What to Expect the Day After Surgery

Make sure your child rests as much as possible after surgery. Temporary nausea or vomiting is quite common after discharge. But if your child experiences any of the symptoms below, call your surgeon or the nursing staff immediately:

  • a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • persistent nausea or vomiting
  • severe pain that’s not relieved by prescribed medication
  • excessive bleeding from an incision

A nurse will call to check on your child’s recovery and to address any questions or concerns. We’re committed to making your child’s surgical visit as pleasant and safe as possible – before, during and after the procedure.

 
Managing Pain After Surgery: Nemours Pain Management Program

If your child is experiencing postsurgical pain, we can help. Nemours Children’s Hospital has one of the only pediatric pain management programs in the country that provides holistic, whole-child — and whole family — healing for children and teens experiencing acute (temporary) or chronic (ongoing) pain. Our integrated program is led by a world-renowned pediatric anesthesiologist who is also board-certified in pain management. We focus on relieving the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of pain using a variety of therapies in an outpatient or inpatient (day stay hospital program) setting.

Learn More About Pediatric Pain Management at Nemours Children’s Hospital »


A Hospital Designed by Families, for Families

At Nemours Children’s Hospital, family-centered care is at the heart of everything we do. In fact, families helped shape the unique amenities and convenient services that make our hospital like no other in the region.

 
If Your Child Needs to Stay Overnight in Our Hospital

You’ll feel right at home in one of our private patient rooms designed with input from families who know what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.

Our large, comfortable, single-patient rooms have sleeping accommodations for two parents, a private bathroom, wireless Internet access, connections for DVD players and game systems, and two flat-screen TVs.

Other in-room features include:
  • full floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light
  • refrigerator for family meals and snacks
  • wardrobe storage for personal items and a hotel-style safe
  • GetWellNetwork interactive television (uniquely based on your child’s age, medical condition and more) and allows your child to watch TV, surf the Web, check e-mail, play music and games, and learn about your Nemours health care team.

Our “hospital within a garden” setting features many places for you and your family to go for fresh air and relaxation, including a one-acre interactive sensory discovery garden or one of our rooftop gardens on the second and fourth floors.

We have many more comforts and amenities such as:
  • complimentary valet and parking
  • kid-friendly commons areas for siblings
  • café and coffee shop
  • nondenominational chapel
  • concierge services

Learn More About Nemours Children’s Hospital »

 
Advanced Pediatric Medical Imaging Services Available Onsite

If your child needs medical imaging, we offer some of the area’s most advanced pediatric radiology services here on campus at Nemours
Children’s Hospital.

Our unique services include:
  • interventional radiology: Our team of experts uses image guidance to diagnose and treat diseases and tumors throughout the body. Certain conditions that previously required open surgery can now be treated by Nemours pediatric interventional radiologists. We are very fortunate to have the only dual-trained pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiologist in the state.
  • neuroradiological or cardiovascular imaging, and fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Our subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists see children with complex conditions who require this highly specialized imaging.
  • Central Florida’s only 256-slice Brilliance iCT Scanner: We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the country to have this latest generation CAT (or CT) scanner that scans faster than most machines and produces excellent images in a much shorter time with much less radiation exposure for the child.

Our team of board-certified pediatric radiologists and pediatric radiologic technologists are experts in the safe medical imaging of children of every age, even newborns.

We have also pledged our commitment to the “Image Gently” campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is increasing awareness of the opportunities to promote radiation protection in the imaging of children.

Learn More About Medical Imaging at Nemours Children's Hospital »

 
Family-Centered Care Means We're Here for You

At Nemours, we want to hear your concerns and share with you everything we can about your child's condition and treatment. If English is not your first language, we'll make sure you understand what to expect — in your language.

Learn More About Interpreter Services at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

 
With Your Family From Clinic or Hospital to Home: KidsTRACK

If your child has a complex or chronic condition we encourage you to take advantage of KidsTRACK, a unique service of Nemours Children’s Hospital. Located on the first floor of our hospital, KidsTRACK is designed to help families by providing expert assistance and information on all aspects of your child’s care, even before you leave our hospital or clinic.

A KidsTRACK care coordinator is available during every step of diagnosis, treatment and healing — helping your family make a smooth transition from Nemours Children's Hospital to home. Your coordinator works alongside the nursing/case managers in our subspecialty areas and acts as a single point of contact connecting you to medical and community resources.

Simply ask your physician for a referral to KidsTRACK
or call (407) 650-7715.

Learn More About KidsTRACK at Nemours Children's Hospital »