Barbara Franklin: Audiology Update

05/10/2012 10:22

I attended the meeting of the American Association of Audiologists, the AAA, the last week of March.  I spent considerable time in the exhibit area which grows more impressive each year.  I will describe the current improvement of the cochlear implant, specifically by Cochlear corporation.

“Sound Foundation for Babies” is a habilitation tool supporting parents for the first 12 months following implantation.  Although it was developed for deaf children it will take longer than a week for each lesson for children with additional disabilities such as deaf-blindness.  It was developed by Cochlear and consists of 40 self-contained sets of goals in a week-to-week format.  Its use is not confined to babies but is appropriate for any youngster following implantation.  The lessons are in the areas of audition, receptive language, expressive language and speech, as well as songs and story books  The activities are designed to fit easily into everyday life as well as provide the knowledge and understanding of the theory behind the goals identified each week.  In addition to the lessons themselves, the support materials to accompany the forty lessons runs 87 pages of suggested activities.  There is also an extensive section on the Ling 6 sound test.

The entire set of 40 lessons and accompanying activities can be found on-line

“The Sound Foundation for Babies” is the first in a series of three planned resources designed to help parents with their children in the early stages of implantation.  “Sound Foundation for Toddlers" and "Sound Foundation for Children” are in the planning stage.

There has also been extensive improvements in the Cochlear BAHA which stands for Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.  The BAHA 3 is currently available which is the most powerful programmable bone conduction device available.  This implant  has been FDA approved and sends sound through the bone directly to the inner ear.  At the present time the BAHA is approved for children over the age of five.  For younger children the device can be worn on a Softband.   When you access the “cochlearamericas” website you can read all about the BAHA.

Cochlear Americas distributed information specifically designed for parents about the BAHA:

Down Syndrome and Hearing Loss

Atresia/Microtia and Hearing Loss

Treacher Collins Syndrome and Hearing Loss

A new Cochlear video will be released at the end of this month.  There is also a HOPE works APP available for the IPad for $1.99.

There was a Cochlear webcast yesterday “Addressing the Educational Needs of a Child who is Deaf and Blind: A Parent’s Perspective” which was given by Natasha MacDougald.  She is the South Florida Area Manager for Cochlear Americas and is the parent of a child who is deaf with ushers syndrome.  The webcast was introduced  by Donna Sorkin  who is  a Vice President of Cochlear Americas. Ms. Sorkin is a past president of Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and is a cochlea implant wearer herself.

I watched the webcast yesterday and I want to add that the activities and materials described for children with cochlea implants are just as appropriate for all deaf-blind childen.  The webcast has great information related to interveners as well as assistive devices such as FM systems. During the question and answer period there were many suggestions related to parents’  interacting wih their child’s teacher.  The webcast will be available in a few days using the link: cochlearamericas.com/HOPE.

Other HOPE onlineo one-hour  courses are available at no cost in additon to the one I just described.  They are organized into the following categories:

Getting started with cochlear implant and BAHA
Serving children at school
Special considerations 
Auditory therapy
Assessment
Early intervention
Focus on technology
Whole child

These courses are further organized into selected audiences: audiologists and speech pathologists, educators and early interventionists, and parents.

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