by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A concerned mother wrote:
I have a daughter who was born with congenital CMV [Cytomegalovirus], and she experienced a progressive hearing loss. She was fitted with hearing aids at 13 months, and she has had them for two months. It is great to hear her making more sounds and responding to more sounds. I am encouraged by her progress, but I am also wondering how much benefit she can get with her hearing aids versus what a cochlear implant could offer. I have difficulty trusting that my daughter’s hearing aids are giving her enough sound information! (And of course she can’t tell us!) Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Actually, your daughter is telling you that her hearing aids are working for her by paying attention when you talk, and is now talking herself. These are both good signs.
Hearing aids aren’t perfect by any means, but you typically can’t get a cochlear implant until you can no longer receive much/any benefit from wearing hearing aids. Therefore, your daughter may not be a candidate for a cochlear implant at this point.
If your daughter is progressing normally for her age, then I’d think the hearing aids are doing an adequate job. However, if she is way behind, then by all means have her evaluated for a cochlear implant. (They won’t give her a cochlear implant if she does not meet their criteria. Therefore, if you are really wondering, you could have her evaluated for a cochlear implant now—then you’d know for sure.)