Newborn hearing screening has led to the early diagnosis of hearing loss in neonates and early device fitting is common, based primarily on electrophysiologic and radiologic information, with some supplementary behavioral measures. Such early fitting of hearing devices, in particular cochlear implants (CIs), has been beneficial to the majority of children implanted under the age of 12 months who meet the cochlear implant candidacy criteria. Comorbidities are common in children with hearing loss, although they may not be evident in neonates and may not emerge until later in infants. Evidence suggests that the child's outcomes are strongly influenced by a range of environmental factors including emotional and social support from the immediate and extended family. Consequently, such factors are important in service planning and service delivery for babies and children receiving CIs. The World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Health and Disability (ICF) can provide a framework to facilitate the holistic management of pediatric cochlear implant recipients. The ICF also can be used to map the progress of recipients over time to highlight emerging issues that require intervention. This article will discuss our preliminary use of the ICF to establish clinical practice; develop advocacy skills among clients and their families; identify eligibility for services such as support in educational settings; enable access to modes of service delivery such as telepractice; provide a conceptual framework for policy and program development for pediatric cochlear implant recipients (i.e., in both disability and health services); and, most importantly, establish a clear pathway for the longitudinal management of the cochlear implant in a child's future. It is anticipated that this model will be applied to other populations receiving cochlear implants through our program.
- cochlear implant
- newborn hearing screening