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Once it’s determined that a child is a candidate for cochlear implant evaluation, here’s what typically happens.
- The child’s doctor at Children’s Health or UT Southwestern requests an implant packet from the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas.
- The intake packet is completed and returned to the Cochlear Implant Coordinator at the Callier Center in the envelope provided.
- Once the packet is returned to Callier, insurance benefits are verified and outside records are requested (from school, the family doctor, etc.).
- After insurance benefits are verified and approved and outside records are received, the child will be scheduled for cochlear implant evaluations at our multidisciplinary cochlear implant clinic in either Dallas or Plano.
Testing, Evaluation, and Discussion
- The child undergoes testing at our multidisciplinary clinic, including speech and language evaluation and hearing and ear function testing.
- Test results are discussed with the patient’s family and shared with a cochlear implant surgeon. The surgeon will also meet with the patient, obtain a medical history, and perform a complete physical examination to help determine candidacy for cochlear implantation.
- If the patient and family decide to proceed, it’s time to select the child’s device and the accessories that come with it. A team member will be able to assist, but the final decision is up to the patient’s family.
- The child should also receive a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study at this time. The MRI gives the doctor a picture of the cochlea (the inner ear) and the hearing nerve to further determine if the child is a good candidate for implantation and, if so, which ear to implant.
Surgery and Beyond
- Surgery is scheduled. Once the patient has a surgery date, his or her caregiver is responsible for making an appointment with Callier for the initial implant hook-up and mapping.
- Approximately one month after the surgery, which allows time for the patient to heal, the surgeon will examine the child and authorize activation of the device. The audiologist at Callier will then hook up the outside part of the implant and create a map for the child.
- These mapping visits will continue as needed.
- We strongly recommend speech/language therapy for the enhanced development of listening, speech, and language. This should have an emphasis on learning how to listen with a cochlear implant