The 95 Decibels team believes all children who are hard of hearing or deaf should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and supports the decision by families to pursue listening and spoken language for their children.
Hearing loss can occur if a child was born prematurely, stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit, had high bilirubin requiring a transfusion, was given medications that can lead to hearing loss, has a family history of childhood hearing loss, had complications at birth, had frequent ear infections, had infections such as meningitis or cytomegalovirus, or was exposed to very loud sounds or noises even of brief duration.
Genetic factors are thought to cause more than 50% of incidents of congenital hearing loss in children.
Options for Profoundly Deaf Children
If after a hearing test, you receive the diagnosis your child is deaf, you can have the same high expectations for your child. You can be reassured that with an early diagnosis, and new developments in hearing technology, your new reality can be as bright as the one you had to begin with.
Twenty years ago, the use of American Sign Language may have been the obvious choice of communication for profoundly deaf children. With the new technology of digital hearing aids and cochlear implants as options for their child, many parents are considering these as options for their child and achieving tremendous success when they follow-up with auditory and speech therapy.
The Cochlear implant is one of the most significant advances in treating hearing loss since the development of the hearing aid. A cochlear implant enables profoundly deaf children to hear without visual aids and to develop speech more effectively than conventional hearing aids can. Children and adults who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing can be fitted for cochlear implants. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of December 2010, approximately 219,000 people worldwide have received implants. In the United States, roughly 42,600 adults and 28,400 children have received them.
Cochlear implants are sophisticated devices that are implanted directly into a person’s cochlea, the part of the inner ear that is responsible for hearing. Cochlear implants replace the damaged hair cells of the inner ear and consist of external and internal components. The microphone on the ear piece picks up sounds from the environment and sends them through a tiny wire to the speech processor. The speech processor changes speech into an electronic code which is sent through a tiny wire to the transmitter which then sends the coded signal across the skin to the receiver.
The receiver changes the code into electronic signals which are sent to the tiny electrodes that were inserted into the cochlea. These electrodes directly stimulate the nerve fibers in the hearing (auditory) nerve. The nerve fibers send messages to the brain, and these messages are interpreted by the brain as sound. It’s an amazing process.
The 95 Decibels team finds much success with the Auditory-Verbal Therapy philosophy, a set of principles designed to achieve maximum use of hearing for learning. Auditory-Verbal Therapy promotes early diagnosis, one-on-one therapy, and state-of-the-art audiologic management and technology. Parents and caregivers actively participate in therapy. Through guidance, coaching, and demonstration, parents become the primary facilitators of their child's spoken language development. Ultimately, parents and caregivers gain confidence that their child can have access to a full range of academic, social, and occupational choices throughout life.