In For Adults, For Parents, Tips & Tricks

Getting a cochlear implant can be a big decision. There’s lots to think about when considering whether or not you (or a loved one) should receive a cochlear implant. So to help you get started we’ve put together some information you can use when preparing to receive a cochlear implant.

What’s Cochlear Implant Pre-Counseling?

Cochlear implant pre-counseling is what happens before a recipient or their family will formally decide to receive a cochlear implant. The most common evaluations are medical and audiological. And, depending on the recipient, other meetings and assessments might be held with hearing professionals.

These are important because their results can help to give you an idea of what to expect during and after receiving the implant. The professionals can help set realistic expectations, and find out if there are any special factors that should be addressed during or after the surgery.

To give you an idea of what these factors could be, here’s what a professional will look out for in a pre-implantation meeting.

For children:

  • How old the child is
  • If he or she were deafened before, or after, learning to speak
  • The cause of the hearing loss
  • His or her cognitive skills
  • His or her behaviors, like how well he or she can focus and pay attention
  • If there are any other disabilities
  • How much benefit he or she gets from hearing aids
  • The rehabilitation programs that will be available after surgery
  • What school he or she attends
  • The amount of parental involvement and support

For adults:

  • How long he or she has been deafened
  • His or her cognitive skills
  • If there are any other disabilities
  • How much benefit he or she gets from hearing aids
  • The rehabilitation programs that will be available after surgery
  • How committed he or she is to doing rehabilitation exercises
  • What family and social life is like

The Surgeon’s Recommendations

Once these cochlear implant pre-counseling assessments are completed, all of that information is sent on to the surgeon and audiologist. They’ll take a look at the results and then sit down with you or your family. This talk could be either a formal meeting or it may be a more informal discussion during an already-scheduled appointment, but it is important and each recipient or recipient’s family should have this discussion. Why? Because it’s where you’ll start to talk about the cochlear implantation, the process, and expectations.

Some of these details could be:

  • If a cochlear implant is the best solution
  • Any existing factors (like those we talked about above) that may impact the recipient’s listening or speaking after the implantation
  • Realistic expectations for hearing and speaking
  • What rehabilitation services are available
  • What rehabilitation is appropriate
  • The best cochlear implant or audio processor that is best suited for the recipient
  • When the surgery will take place
  • What will happen during and after the surgery (like how long it will last, what recovery will be like, any special instructions for care)
  • When and where rehabilitation programs will take place
  • (For children) what educational programs, or school, would be appropriate
  • Reiterating the importance of family involvement, and understanding of deafness and what a cochlear implant does

Involve Your Family

It’s good to remember that although there might be only one implant recipient in a family, receiving the cochlear implant is a family affair. If you’re the recipient, letting your family be actively involved in this pre-implantation counseling will allow them to feel involved with your hearing journey. If you’re a family member, a good way for you to provide support is by asking questions, providing input, and expressing your wishes and choices.

Question: Have you gone through cochlear implant pre-counselling? What was it like for you?

If you’d like to know more, we’ve also put together an article with 42 questions to ask your hearing professional before, during, and after a cochlear implant surgery.

This post was written with help from MaryKay Theres, a speech-language pathologist.

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