There was an article published on May 24, 2014 talking about cochlear implants and their lasting impact on children’s ability to have skills such as organizing, planning, and memorizing. Apparently having a cochlear implant has been connected to being at a higher risk of having problems such as connecting past experiences to present actions.
There have been over 300,000 people that received cochlear implants in 2012 worldwide and out of those numbers 38,000 were children in the United States.
“Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis studied 73 children who received their implants before the age of 7, and 78 children with normal hearing, according to the press release. Based on their results, children with these implants are two to five times more at risk of executive function deficits when compared to children with normal hearing. These deficiencies include difficulties with organizing, controlling and processing information, remembering details, paying attention, and managing time and space. This risk was greatest in the areas of comprehension and conceptual learning, factual memory, attention, sequential processing, working memory, and novel problem solving.” (medical daily)
With this concern in the air, it is clear that there are side effects of the cochlear implant but there are also some good that has come out of the cochlear implant being available. Many Deaf individuals are in favor of the cochlear implant if it’s a personal choice, not something parents make for their children.
Many parents do not follow the intensive speech and listening training that children should go through when they are implanted and even beforehand. The development of speech and comprehension of words through listening is something that is a critical aspect of success behind the cochlear implant.
If somebody were to wait until they were older, maybe the child would avoid all of the problems that have been addressed above because their cognitive development and basic skills would already be set before they were to be implanted. Some of these side effects could be because of the age that the child is implanted, others may be because of other issues the child already had prior to getting an implant.
Cochlear Implants celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first man being implanted back in October of 2012. “Thirty years ago in October 1982, Melbourne man Graham Carrick made history when a remarkable invention, implanted in his cochlea, was ‘switched on’ – and 15 minutes later he could hear for the first time in 17 years. (Cochlear)
“I had much criticism and was referred to as ‘that clown Clark’,” explains Professor Graeme Clark, cochlear implant inventor and pioneer. “But I was determined to persist and see it through, and I’m so pleased I did. I cannot imagine any technology that has had such a profound effect on transforming so many peoples’ lives.” (Cochlear)
This video is of Graham Carrick two years ago after having a cochlear implant for thirty years: