About a month after the surgery, the external part of the cochlear implant system is programmed and introduced. This is called activation. It may seem that after the operation you are have already progressed, but the journey towards hearing has only just begun. The child hears properly for the first time, so remember that he/she needs time to get used to the sound of the world. Only now begins the process of learning to actually hear.
Typical reactions after activation:
- Laughter, smile
- Turning towards the direction of a sound
- Eye flapping
- Stopping movement, when a sound is heard
- The child tries to turn off/disable the processor
- No reactions. That, too, is normal. A professional can determine if the cochlear implant is functioning, even if the child does not respond during activation.When getting used to the implants.
After the first time, there are first a few adjustment times during a short period and then they are gradually less frequent. In between the adjustments and mappings, the listening environment is got used to, and at this time it should be closely monitored, how the child reacts to different sounds. Notes, or even keeping a journal, support the monitoring of development and on their basis, it is easier to tell about experiences during a hearing centre visit. The more you are able to tell about the child’s hearing, the easier it is to adjust.
When getting used to the implant:
- Please keep in mind that the cochlear implant takes getting used to. Everyone has once been a beginner!
- In order for a child to get used to the implant, he/she should use it every day
- Raise or lower your voice, when the child uses the implant
- Get the child’s attention, when there are loud noises in the environment
- If you use sign language, gesture to tell where sounds are coming from
- Accustom the child to different sounds in the environment
- Respond to the child’s new behaviour and sounds (for example, hit things, imitate his/her sounds, play with him/her with toys, which make a sound)
- Talk all the time: about what you are doing, what you are thinking, etc. (“Hmm, I wonder what we should eat for lunch? I’m hungry…)
- On a daily basis, sing songs that fit the situation (“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” at bedtime etc.)
- When the processor falls out, always put it back in place. Do not make a big deal out of it falling. In this way your child learns that the implant is a part of him/her and he/she will not remove the processor in order to get your attention.
– Cochlear Implant Online: What to Expect in the First Weeks After a Child’s Cochlear Implant Activation