Health Watch — Kids' Stuff: Cochlear Implants

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about health issues associated with children. Children who are born deaf or who become deaf very early in life may have a chance to develop better language skills if they get the right help at the right time.

A cochlear implant can help children with nerve deafness. Unlike hearing aids, which only amplify sound, a cochlear implant converts sound waves to electrical impulses that can be interpreted by the brain. Research has shown that the earlier children receive these implants, the better the results. Dr. Ann Gears, an otolaryngologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says when children receive the implants earlier, their speaking ability at the age of three is better. The children develop a more complex vocabulary and use of language when they have earlier access to sound using the implants.


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February 2007

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