Counseling new indications and the importance of early access to sound


By Ryan Lopez, Director, Nucleus® Product Management & Marketing at Cochlear Americas

For 20 years, cochlear implants have been indicated in children no younger than 12 months of age. Earlier this year, Cochlear received FDA approval to lower the age of cochlear implantation from 12 months to 9 months for children with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss.* This important approval ensures that children who are born deaf have earlier access to a cochlear implant which can provide them with the hearing capabilities to develop speech and language at a trajectory similar to their hearing peers.1-3­

As clinicians, counseling parents and caregivers though the decision-making process to implant their child can be an emotional journey. Confidence in understanding why early implantation in children is so important can help to reinforce the vitality of the counseling process.

Age at intervention has been shown to be highly correlated with longitudinal outcomes. Receiving a cochlear implant early in a child’s life provides a greater chance of realizing personal best speech, social and language skills.1 Early access to sound can allow a child’s speech and language development to be on par with normal-hearing peers, enabling a life of possibilities.2-3

In addition to other imperative information surrounding cochlear implantation in children, the Pediatric Evidence Summary for Cochlear Implants take a retrospective approach to clinical data focused on the importance of early access to sound.

Read the Pediatric Evidence Summary now!


  1. Ching TYC and Dillon H. Major Findings of the LOCHI study on children at 3 years of age and implications for audiological management. Int J Audiol. (2013 Dec); 52 Suppl 2:S65-8. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2013.866339
  2. Dettman SJ, Dowell RC, Choo D, Arnott W, Abrahams Y, Davis A, Dornan D, Leigh J, Constantinescu G, Cowan R, Briggs RJ. Long-term communication outcomes for children receiving cochlear implants younger than 12 months: A multicenter study. Otol Neurotol. (2016 Feb); 37(2):e82–e95. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000915. Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
  3. Geers AE and Nicholas JG. Enduring advantages of earlier cochlear implantation for spoken language development. J Speech Lang Hear Res. (2013 Apr); 56(2):643-55. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0347).

*In Canada (for CI500 and CI600 series implants) and the United States, the cochlear implant system is intended for use in children 9 to 24 months of age who have bilateral profound sensorineural deafness and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids. Children two years of age or older may demonstrate severe to profound hearing loss bilaterally.

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