Title: 'Trends in Early Intervention Advisement Practices Relative to Cochlear Implantation'
Track: 2-Audiological Assessment and Intervention
Keyword(s): early implantation, advisement practices, cochlear implant candidacy, socio-economic status
Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to examine and evaluate the impact of early intervention advisement practices in their home community on families’ access to cochlear implantation for young deaf children.


An essential component of early intervention includes the timely provision of information to parents regarding their options for treatment of their child’s profound hearing loss, including receipt of information regarding cochlear implants. This information should include details regarding candidacy, outcomes, and benefits of early implantation. CI clinics often report that many families begin the CI evaluation process after the child’s second birthday, even though the child’s hearing loss was identified soon after birth. This is supported by implant registration data, which indicates that in 2010, the average age at implant for children who received a cochlear implant prior to their third birthday was 19 months (Cochlear Americas, U.S. estimates). In 2003, we conducted a survey of 148 parents of young children who had received cochlear implants to ask them about their experiences with the early intervention process. This survey revealed that most parents did not receive information about cochlear implants from early intervention professionals but instead received such information from a variety of other sources. A 2011 study replicates and updates the information received from the 2003 survey and examines recent experiences of 320 parents with the Early Intervention system in their community including early intervention services received, and socio-economic status and education levels of the family. The analysis provides comparisons to the 2003 study and also relative to parental income, education, and ethnicity. Study findings can be used to improve the advisement process so that families may have full access to the information they need to make timely decisions on options and services needed to maximize cochlear implant outcomes. The effect of family income, education and ethnicity on the age of the child at time of cochlear implantation will be discussed relative to advisement strategies.
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