Cochlear Implant Candidacy : Who Is a Candidate?
We are always looking for information regarding Cochlear Implant Candidacy and we came across an excellent resource at the National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University. We highly recommend it. These are general Cochlear Implant Candidacy requirements for children from their website:
- In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lowered the recommended age requirement to 12 months of age. While this is the FDA-recommended age, this age is not legally binding and some hospital centers are completing the procedure earlier based on expectations of improved outcomes for early implantation. In addition, specific circumstances may allow for earlier implantation. For example, if meningitis is the cause of hearing loss, it may be important for the child to be implanted as early as possible as this condition causes ossification (bone build up) in the cochlea, making it increasingly difficult to surgically insert the electrode array as time passes. Note: There may be questions related to insurance payment for the procedure if it is completed prior to 12 months of age.
- The FDA states that a child should have a bilateral (both ears), profound sensorineural hearing loss; however, increasing numbers of children with hearing loss in the severe range are being considered for cochlear implants.
- Negligible functional benefit (limited open-set speech recognition) from appropriate amplification is often mentioned as a criterion. When such measures cannot be obtained on young children, hospital centers make individual decisions regarding whether or not a child would be able to do well on such tests given documented hearing levels and traditional hearing aids. There are varied implant center requirements regarding the use of traditional hearing aids prior to implantation. Some centers waive an extended hearing aid trial requirement in the interest of time when it is clear that the child would perform better with a cochlear implant.
- A child who is failing to progress in speech, language, and listening development with traditional hearing aids based on parent reports and educational information, may be considered as a candidate.
- Family willingness to follow recommendations; enroll in speech, language, and listening therapy; and return for follow-up appointments are factors in candidacy.
- Having no medical contraindications to electrode insertion or receiver placement is a factor in candidacy.
- Educational and home environments that are supportive of cochlear implants are factors in candidacy.