ADVANTAGES

Cochlear implants are a surgically implanted devices that provides electrical stimulation to the 8th Nerve. In hearing people, the 8th Nerve is stimulated by signals that are processed through the hair cells of the cochlea. In most profound hearing loss the hair cells of the cochlea have been destroyed, resulting in a loss of sensitivity, and a loss of frequency resolution. A CI produces tiny electrical currents that directly stimulate the auditory nerve fibers, bypassing defective or absent hair cells. Frequency resolution occurs for a CI patient because the implant filters sound into different frequency bands and these bands are transmitted to different electrode positions which then stimulate “high pitch” producing nerve fibers and “low pitch” nerve fibers. A born-deaf infant experiences auditory stimulation, that is different from normal hearing infants. Cochlear implant stimulated infants create their own catalog of auditory experiences.. It is the task of parents, siblings, teachers, speech-language pathologists, and audiologist to make this audible signal, presented to an infant with the neural plasticity to organize this novel sensory input, into meaningful language. The neural plasticity of the brain is significant and related to age. The primary language-learning years are 0-3 years of age. To implant a prelingually deaf child at a later age is doomed to failure. Members of the audiologic community have argued that it is in fact unethical to implant a prelingually deaf child at a later age because of the poor prognosis for the successful development of oral language (Rose). CI at a later age will not change or provide options; the child is and will remain a functionally deaf individual, even if some auditory stimulation is provided. A decision to wait to implant at a later age narrows dramatically the options to the child.

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