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Auditory verbal therapy essential for cochlear implantees

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Intensive pre and post-operative auditory verbal therapy is essential for cochlear implantees to enable them to reap the benefits of the implant, Dagmar Hermannova, Prague-based speech and hearing therapist said on Tuesday.

Ms. Hermannova said that those with a profound hearing loss in both ears, with little or no improvement in hearing despite wearing aids and with strong family support would be ideal candidates for a cochlear implant. With changes in technology and therapy techniques, it was now possible to operate on children younger than 12 months and older adults, she said at a lecture on Cochlear Implantation and Audio Verbal Therapy at the KKR ENT Hospital and Research Institute, here.

Before the procedure, it was essential to do psychological, audiological and neurological assessments to evaluate not only the hearing loss but also the motor and cognitive skills. Regular sessions with a transdisciplinary team, group therapies and regular use of hearing aids in the period before the operation were crucial.

This would have to be continued post-operation as well. Rehabilitation would have to be individualised, focussed on progressive auditory training and development of communication skills.

The improvement after surgery depended on the age of the patient (the younger the better), intelligence and skills, learning and concentration skills, additional handicaps such as blindness or mental retardation and the motivation of the patient and the family.

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