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  6. What Educators Need to Know
  1. Cochlear Implants

What Educators Need to Know

  • Cochlear implants do not make hearing normal.
  • Benefit of an implant depends, in part, on the
    • type of communication training (total communication, auditory-oral communication, cued speech, etc.) a student used before the implant
    • type of communication the student uses after the implant
  • To get maximum benefit from a cochlear implant, a student will need individual training, such as
    • speech training
    • lip reading training
    • auditory training
  • To progress with their classmates, students with cochlear implants may still need
    • special accommodation in the classroom
      • preferential seating
      • a note taker
      • a quiet environment, away from air handlers and other noisy equipment
      •  a sign-language interpreter or cued speech interpreter
  • Students need time to adjust and accommodate to their cochlear implants. The amount of time they need varies. During the accommodation period, students need language input from all sources they used before their implants.
  • Educators should treat their students with cochlear implants as individuals, each having particular communication needs. Students don't get equal benefits from cochlear implants.
  • Students with cochlear implants may find it harder to
    • digest new and difficult subject matter
    • interact in unfamiliar and complex social situations
  • Educators should be aware that frequent changes to educational programs involving students with cochlear implants (program hopping) may impede learning.
  • Educators can help their students in other ways to achieve full benefits from cochlear implants,
    • intervening early when there appears to be a problem
    • promoting family counseling
    • promoting specialized speech and language therapies
    • explaining to families that speech and language are not the same thing, and that education is based on language development
    • getting more information and support from local and national organizations of teachers of those with impaired hearing
  • To assure that students with cochlear implants don't fall behind their classmates, educators should frequently evaluate them and their educational settings.
  • Particularly for their younger students, educators need to assure that external cochlear implant components are securely attached or removed during active school events. The components are expensive and are easily lost or damaged.
  • Students will often need extra batteries, either new or recharged, for their implants to work.
  • Students with cochlear implants are usually not able to interpret complex auditory signals, such as those in music.


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