For many with profound hearing loss in both ears, receiving a cochlear implant is a life-changing event. While the implant does not restore normal hearing, its provides a stimulation of the auditory nerve that allows many implant users to understand spoken speech, hold telephone conversations, and “hear” environmental sounds.
Cochlear implants work best for adults or children with recent hearing loss. The brains of those who have recently lost hearing are already wired to understand sound, so those with recent hearing loss are often able to quickly adjust to hearing with a cochlear implant.
Young children with hearing loss who receive implants before the age of 5 also do very well. Even children who are deaf since birth are able to learn to speak and understand speech. Children who receive cochlear implants are able to attend mainstream schools, also.
In certain cases, cochlear implants may also benefit adults and teens who have been deaf for all or most of their lives. It can take a significant amount of therapy for the brain to learn to interpret auditory nerve signals as language. However, some people with long-term deafness have received significant benefits from cochlear implants, especially when combined with lip reading.
However, some people cannot benefit from cochlear implantation. In order for a cochlear implant to work, the auditory nerves must be intact. Cochlear implants cannot help when deafness is caused by the injury or absence of the auditory nerve fibers.
Cochlear implants are not miracles. It takes time to learn to interpret sounds after cochlear implantation. Those who receive an implant may be considered eligible for SSDI or SSI for one year (or longer) after implantation.
The Boston disability advocates at Keefe Disability Law help those with hearing disabilities get the federal benefits they have earned. To learn more about SSI and SSDI, request a free copy of Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847, and ask to speak with a New England Social Security benefits lawyer.