In 1990, The FDA first approved cochlear implants for children as young as 2 years old. 10 years later, the FDA revised pediatric candidacy for those 12 months or older.
Today, nearly 26,000 children in the United states have an implant, and though the effects vary from individual to individual, the device – especially when used in conjunction with other speech processors and technologies – can often be a deciding factor in the child’s success in the mainstream classroom.
Many children are eligible for a cochlear implant, and its important to talk to your audiologist to see if your child qualifies. Though implants are not inexpensive, health insurance coverage for the device has greatly improved over the years.
What’s the Future Hold?
Since 2000, there has been no official change in FDA eligibility guidelines, despite the significant evolution and advancement of implant technology. Currently, some doctors are pushing for children under 12 months to be considered for cochlear implants. The general consensus seems to be: the earlier the better.