- Implant programme coordinators
- ENT consultant
- Audiological physician
- Audiological scientist / physicist
- Teacher of the deaf
- Specialist speech and language therapist
- Clinical psychologist
- Hearing therapist
The Implant Programme Coordinator is the main point of contact for any enquiries you may have about the programme.
The Cochlear Implant team will include a Consultant Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon who should have experience in cochlear implant surgery.
Some Cochlear Implant Centres will have a medical consultant who is also a qualified audiologist.
The cochlear implant team will usually have an audiological scientist. He/she will assess your child’s hearing levels, suggesting a trial with different hearing aids if necessary. It is important to decide whether or not the most up-to-date hearing aids could offer the same or better results for your child as an implant. During surgery, the audiologist or medical physicist may make recordings of nerve and muscle responses to check the function of the implant. After the operation, the audiologists will be responsible for tuning the device. This can involve a lot of time and requires much co-operation. With children, every effort is made to make this fun! Regular return visits will be made, when the audiologists will monitor progress using various types of hearing test. They will deal with any technical concerns you or your child’s teachers may have about the implant.
In some centers you will find that there is a medical physicist who will be responsible for some, if not all, of the activities listed above.
A teacher of the deaf will usually be involved in children’s implant centres. They will be closely involved with assessing a child’s educational suitability for a cochlear implant, and will liaise closely with the school and educational services. The advisory teachers will visit the school or pre-school setting to observe your child and share information about cochlear implants with the teachers and other local staff. They will be able to make an assessment of the learning environment and available support. If a decision to go ahead is made, they will work closely with the child’s local teachers. They will also make home visits to get to know the child in their own environment. With the speech and language therapists, the teachers form the habilitation team which will help to develop maximum effective use of the implant at home and at school.
The speech and language therapists will be involved in both adult and children’s cochlear implant programmes.
The speech and language therapist will assess language and communication skills prior to cochlear implantation. Following implantation, their role with the teachers is to maximise effective use of the implant both at home and at school, giving families ideas and advice about getting the best out of the device. They will work closely with the local Speech and Language Therapy service, and also make one or more visits to the school and home. The speech and language therapists will also wish to monitor your child’s progress over time, and will be available to offer support on the all-important matter of communication to the families and local professionals.
With adults, the speech and language therapist will be involved in the assessment of suitability for cochlear implantation. He/she will also be involved in the rehabilitation following implantation. The aim is to assist the adult to obtain the maximum benefit from the implant
Many cochlear implant teams include a clinical psychologist. This can give you the opportunity to discuss any concerns about the assessment or implantation process. You may also wish to discuss your expectations of the implant for yourself or your child.
The hearing therapist will usually be involved with adults. She/he will be involved in the initial assessments, and will discuss your expectations from implantation. Speech and hearing therapists will work together to ensure that you have explored the possibility of implantation, and will help you to decide whether it is the right decision for you.
Hearing therapists will also be involved post implantation, helping you to get the most from your implant using a variety of different training methods.
No member of the team works in isolation. All meet frequently and share important information.