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.
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.
For Appointments: (904) 697-3600
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For Appointments: (904) 697-3460
Cochlear Implant Team
- Drew Horlbeck, MD
- Stacy Payne, MA, CCC-A (Coordinator)
- Katie Sawaya, AuD, CCC-A
- Catherine Swanson, MS, CCC-SLP
- Denise Dancull, MS, CCC-SLP
- Stephanie Ortner, MS, CCC-SLP
- Amy Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP
- Brooke Wilson, MS, CCC-SLP
- Loria Austin, MS, CCC-SLP
- 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
Bring these forms for your first appointment:
Returning Patient Forms
- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
Nemours surgeons have performed hundreds of successful cochlear implants in children between the ages of 1 and 17. For children who meet the candidacy requirements, this procedure can be a life-changing event, opening a new world of sound and language.
As a parent, it’s important for you to know that the implant procedure itself is just part of the process. After the internal device is implanted, the cochlear implant must be routinely programmed by a specially trained audiologist to ensure the child is hearing to their maximum potential. Additionally, children must learn how to hear with the cochlear implant in order to learn how to speak. As with newborns, this takes time. Ongoing therapy and family involvement, both before and after surgery, are critical to a successful outcome.
Our cochlear implantation program strives to provide long-term support for your child and your family. In addition, we offer families the convenience of having all the services associated with cochlear implantation all in one place.
Our comprehensive cochlear implant team is made up of specialists with expertise in the many different aspects of cochlear implantation in children.
This team includes:
- pediatric neuro-otologist (an ENT doctor who specializes in abnormalities of the ear)
- pediatric audiologists (specialists who diagnose, evaluate and treat hearing loss)
- speech and language pathologists (specialists who diagnose, evaluate and treat pediatric communication problems)
- behavioral health experts
- educators of the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Working together, we coordinate all the necessary pieces for cochlear implantation in children including:
- preimplant evaluations and candidacy determination
- surgical care
- postimplant details related to programming the device
- training the child and family how to care for and operate the device
- increasing your child’s speech and hearing skills
- children up to 18 years of age
- diagnosis of severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss
- daily and consistent use of hearing aids during all waking hours
- lack of progress in auditory based therapy with good parent involvement
- medically healthy to undergo implant surgery
- appropriate expectations and motivation of parents and/or family
After the cochlear implant surgery, our speech and language pathologists work one-on-one with children to teach or re-teach speech and hearing skills. We can provide these services to children regardless of their primary language at home. Our speech and language services for children with cochlear implants involve a technique called auditory-based therapy. Our program is delivered by therapists and follows a set of guiding principles that include an emphasis on early and consistent amplification, intense family participation and therapy that focuses on developing speech through natural development patterns.
The methods used during therapy sessions are taught to parents, who will continue the training at home in their child's natural environment. The goal is to maximize the use of your child’s residual hearing in order to develop expressive speech that is melodic and natural. The program emphasizes the meaning and pragmatics of language, rather than articulation — which means language is shaped, or “caught,” rather than taught. The results are children who have natural-sounding speech and language, are excellent communicators, and are at a cognitive level similar or equal with their hearing peers.