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The answers of Dr. Barbara Streicher to the questions asked by parents in the webinar 03.06.2012

Sabine, mother of twins, Berlin – Our SLP estimates the vocabulary of my children as good. How can I provide an additional boost?

Firstly, I would like to ask a question back to you: on which basis would you qualify the vocabulary as good? Would it be good relative to the hearing age or the chronological age?

One thing is of principle: a child will be stimulated by surroundings filled with speech and language, through it the child will learn new words via “natural usage of language and speech”. As for hearing-impaired children, they should be hearing words, phrases and sentences in conjunction with an action, so that concepts represented by words stay in their long-term memory.

Irina Shymanska, Lviv: What would you recommend for daily lessons with the child?

Lessons make one think of a school, while the basis of language acquisition actually is spoken communication with the child, at first basing on play. The parents are supervised by therapists and are, surely, involved in the rehabilitation. Thus they can learn the strategy for attracting and retaining the child’s attention. Key activities here are daily things such as playtime, reading books or singing together.

 [GROMADSKIY DIALOG-KHERSON] The boy, Bohdan, is 4 years and 7 months old, on 24.04.2012 he was given a CI! When will the child begin to distinguish, hear and make sense of sounds and speech?

At the age of nearly 5 years your son got the implant at a relatively late time. I suppose his cognitive ability is far ahead of his hearing age. As soon as the speech processor has been fitted, he will begin to hear sounds and speech. He might not yet recognize words and sentences, but this ability will develop over time after the first fitting. Within three months he will learn to distinguish between sounds and identify many key words in a sentence.

[Oxana Rudakova-Petropavlovsk] Won’t using cards [with images] prevent the child from being motivated in listening and developing a hearing memory?

Therapy of deaf children is conducted on many levels. Clearly, the purpose is to develop aural ‘feedback’ and hearing memory. Older children especially could be started on this via visual stimuli. The integration of the concept being learned into hearing is crucial. At the age of four children begin to show interest in letters and words, so this can be used in learning.

[Gulnara – Naberezhnie Chelny] The child has a CI on one ear. Should he wear a hearing aid on the other?

 [Lyuda-Bazmejnei Dialog-Rivne] I would also like to know – should we wear the HA and how soon after implantation?

Immediately after cochlear implantation the hearing aid may get in the way because it provides a different type of sound input. But because of the importance of binaural hearing, we should not refuse to use hearing aids altogether. However, some children refuse point blank to wear the HA, especially when the implanted ear hears much better.

 [Iruna Shumanska-Lviv] What difference does one VS two CIs make to the child’s speech?

In this case the interval between the first and the second implantations is the deciding factor. If the gap is small enough, before the child is four it can develop binaural hearing. But the greater the time span between the two surgeries, the longer it takes for the two ears to be integrated.

Bilateral implantation should reduce the “useful sound – noise” ratio and lead to better hearing perception.

20:47:18 [Nina-Tatarstan] Our acquaintances were going to have their daughter get the second implant at three years of age, one year after the first CI. But they were told the nerve was dead and it was useless. It this correct?

This is not an easy question as I have not seen the diagnosis and the medical conclusions. But yes, the CI can only be useful when the hearing nerve is intact.


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