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Living Well: Cochlear Implants Help Kids Hear

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5 in 1,000 children have hearing loss. Now, more hospitals are using cochlear implants to help children hear for the first time.

5-year-old Marianne failed every hearing test since she was born until today.

Marianne has grown up lip reading. She was able to pick up amplified sounds through a hearing aid for years, but never crisp sound at a safe volume.

That's why her family opted for Texas Children's Hospital in the Woodlands to surgically place this cochlear implant inside her head, giving her the chance to hear like everyone else.

Dr. Jill Beck says Marianne will have to relearn how to associate noises with what they mean. 

The more unsure she gets in this appointment, the more shy she gets. However, everyone is convinced her response means she will be able to hear clearly, soon.

The implant in her head is sending a wireless signal to the outside processor. The nerve that’s being exercised for the first time is so fragile they have to send soft sounds and she will gradually build up to more over time, while relearning what sounds to associate with words in both English and Spanish.

It will be exhausting, but Marianne is willing to work hard. To understand her motivation, you must think like a child.

Minutes after her implant was on, she asks to go underwater to hear the sound of water.

That desire, to connect sounds with objects and words that she's previously been able to lip-read and hear with a hearing aid, means that Marianne may be quicker at utilizing her implant than other patients.

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