Title: 'Team approach in determining cochlear implant candidacy in early infancy'
Track: 2-Audiological Assessment and Intervention
Audience: Primary Audience: Early Intervention Provider
Secondary Audience: Audiologist
Tertiary Audeince: Family of a child with hearing loss
Keyword(s): cochlear implants, cochlear implant evaluation, team management,
Learning Objectives: identify criteria for cochlear implant candidacy in infants. identify dynamics of cochlear implant team evaluation. identify speech and language outcomes for infants receiving cochlear implants under 18 months of age.


Ongoing study of a group of infants, both unilaterally and bilaterally implanted at Carle Foundation Hospital, has indicated that the best outcomes occurred in children who underwent implantation at or before 18 months of age, with several of these infants demonstrating age-appropriate spoken language skills (Hammes et. al, 2002). To achieve the goal of early cochlear implantation and the prospect of improved language outcomes, the evaluation for candidacy must begin soon after a severe- to-profound hearing loss is identified through newborn hearing screening. The pediatric cochlear implant program, a component of the ECHO (Expanding Children’s Hearing Opportunities) team at Carle Foundation Hospital, provides evaluation and management of infants who are candidates for cochlear implants. The ECHO team is a multidisciplinary team with many years of experience in caring for children with hearing loss and their families. Included on the team are an otologist, audiologists, speech language pathologists, child development specialists, deaf educators, and parents. Intensive coordinated team management by ECHO staff members focuses on early intervention through traditional amplification and therapy, assessment of auditory skills and pre-lexical speech development, parent education and training, and medical evaluation. The team approach has been critical at Carle in determining cochlear implant candidacy in infants, allowing for surgery to occur as early as 6 months of age. This presentation will outline the evaluation process and describe the contribution of each team member in establishing cochlear implant candidacy in infants. Data demonstrating the importance of this approach which leads to cochlear implantation during critical speech and language periods will also be discussed.
Presentation(s): Not Available
Handouts: Not Available
Jean Thomas - Carle Foundation Hospital
     Credentials: M.S. Audiology
      Jean F. Thomas, MS, CCC-A, Audiologist - Jean obtained her master’s degree in audiology in 1984 from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. She joined the Expanding Children’s Hearing Opportunities (ECHO) program in 2000. She specializes in pediatric audiology, including hearing aid fittings and cochlear implants. She also has extensive experience with evoked potential testing.
Mary Willis - Carle Foundation Hospital
     Credentials: M.S. CCC-SLP IL Early Intervention Evaluator
      Mary Willis, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist – Mary obtained her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences from Bradley University in 1982 and her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Florida State University in 1984. Mary has specialized in services for children with hearing loss since 1986; she joined ECHO in 1996.
Kristin Lutes - Carle Foundation Hospital
     Credentials: M.S. CCC-SLP
      Kristin R. Lutes, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist- Kristin obtained her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences in 2006 from Eastern Illinois University and her master’s degree from Illinois State University in 2008. Kristin is part of the Carle Foundation ECHO program and specializes in services for children with hearing loss.