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
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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.