Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation for Adults
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A First Anniversary Blog Post

Posted By Naama Tsach, PhD, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Last month was my blog's first anniversary so I thought it would be a good time to sum-up what we have done over the past year. If someone had told me two years ago that I would write a blog on adult rehabilitation for the ACI Alliance, I would have never believed them. Yet, life presents us with opportunities and this blog has given me a new and unexpected way to express my love for my profession and my patients.

It all started when Donna Sorkin and I spoke about my experience with adult rehabilitation following cochlear implantation. Many of the people I had worked with had congenital hearing loss though some had lost their hearing later in life. Of the total population of CI recipients, 60% are adults. Unlike pediatric recipients, most adults do not receive auditory rehabilitation services as part of their rehabilitation process. Moreover, adult CI recipients have difficulty finding resources to support their rehabilitation journey.

18 Posts Published So Far

Consequently, in Donna's kitchen, this blog was born. Eighteen posts have been published to date, aimed to present a broad perspective and offer practical advice to enhance the challenges faced by a diverse population of adult CI recipients. This diversity includes wide-ranging expectations, rehabilitation needs, and outcomes.

I wrote about perception of environmental sounds, music appreciation, emotional effects and improvement in recipients’ quality of life. These topics demonstrate the various CI benefits and suggest that subjective evaluation of benefits made by recipients themselves, is as important as objective assessments of speech perception ability performed by professionals.

Some of the posts included practical advice on topics related to constructive communication with family, professionals and friends to facilitate support and cooperation following implantation. In addition, there were posts that presented the questions faced by audiologists in the process of evaluation of CI candidates, and issues regarding bilateral CI. Although I emphasized the importance of auditory rehabilitation provided by speech pathologists, tips for self- auditory training were also suggested. Linda Daniel, an audiologist and Auditory Verbal Therapist shared her moving experience in initiating a support group for adult cochlear implant recipients. Thank you Linda! Another writer we were privileged to host is musician Richard Reed, who lost his hearing later in life and was implanted after nearly 10 years of significant hearing loss. His touching story demonstrates some of the challenges, as well as achievements, he experienced during his unique rehabilitation journey. I take this opportunity to invite other writers to contribute to our blog.

Future Posts

What about future blog posts? The next posts will include instructions on how to develop your own training materials and use them in creative and fun ways. Other posts will discuss related topics such as speechreading, how to deal with noisy environments, and strategies to improve listening on the telephone. You are most welcome to suggest other relevant topics.

As both a speech pathologist and audiologist who previously relied on direct face-to-face communication, writing a blog is a very different kind of communication. Therefore, I would like to thank the readers who wrote to me; your questions and comments were thought provoking and you helped me focus on important topics of interest.

I would like to thank the extraordinary Donna Sorkin, who presented me with this exceptional platform, enabled me to freely express my professional insights and perspectives, and supported me all the way with her positive encouragements and suggested edits. I also want to thank Susan Thomas—without her dedication and technical support, I might be writing these posts only for myself.

Best wishes for a healthy and thriving 2017.

Naama Tsach

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The mission of the American Cochlear Implant (ACI) Alliance is to advance access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.