sound practice in action
Children with severe-to-profound hearing loss now have the option of receiving bilateral cochlear implants simultaneously or sequentially. In addition, many children who already have a cochlear implant are now being implanted with their second cochlear implant. There are essentially four auditory processes that are supported by bilateral hearing, that contribute to the overall processing of auditory stimuli. These include binaural interaction, speech sound discrimination, temporal processing and dichotic listening. In addition, both bottom-up factors (sensory encoding) and top-down factors (cognition, language, attention and other higher-order functions) work together to affect overall processing of auditory input. Aural rehabilitation practitioners can help parents learn to create exciting and meaningful auditory experiences that will enable the child with bilateral cochlear implants to develop and refine those auditory processing skills that are supported by bilateral hearing, in a developmental manner. The aural rehabilitation practitioner and audiologist, in collaboration with the child’s parent(s) develop an individualized treatment plan to ensure both cochlear implants are working well and consistently, and that conditions exist to support the successful integration of the child’s cochlear implants. This course will provide an overview of the development of auditory skills with bilateral cochlear implants and the strategies used to develop bilateral hearing. Video clips of a session with a child with bilateral cochlear implants provide guided learning opportunities.