The loss of hearing in children is a major problem which prevents the child from developing appropriate language skills, thus having a considerable adverse impact on their whole future life. Therefore, it is pivotal to find ways which permit for reducing or eliminating the loss of hearing in children at an early age as possible. An innovative method for doing this is cochlear implantation. This paper provides some statistics about children with hearing loss in Saudi Arabia, discusses the effects of cochlear implants on young children and considers their advantages and disadvantages, and elaborates how the use of cochlear implants may help improve the development of young kids.
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The amount of literature which estimates the prevalence of hearing loss among children in Saudi Arabia is quite limited. According to Al-Rowaily et al. (2012), the overall prevalence of hearing impairments (conductive or sensorineural hearing loss) among preschoolers in Saudi Arabia is 1.75% (95% confidence interval: 1.25-2.25%), whereas its prevalence among 4-5-year-old kindergarteners falls between 0.83 and 3.21%. Therefore, it is possible that several tens of pre-school children per every 1,000 preschoolers may suffer from hearing loss in Saudi Arabia, which necessitates the implementation of measures aimed at addressing their hearing impairment.
A cochlear implant is one of the innovative methods for dealing with hearing impairment. It is a device which is implanted into the inner ear via surgery, and which permits people with little or no hearing to gain or restore their hearing capabilities. There are numerous benefits to the use of cochlear implants among young children. The primary advantage, clearly, is that they may enable the child to have heard (Alsanosi & Hassan 2014).
This entails a number of other benefits, such as the considerably improved development of a child resulting from the ability to hear speech and thus learn a language (which is impaired or absent in kids who are deaf or hard of hearing), the ability to gain an education in a traditional school, improved future educational and career opportunities, and so on (Alsanosi & Hassan 2014). In fact, cochlear implants may help a child avoid having a severe, highly impairing disability, which would have a profoundly adverse impact on their whole life (Albanyan 2015).
Of course, there are also a number of disadvantages to installing and using cochlear implants (Haak n.d.). For example, cochlear implants are quite expensive, and do not guarantee an improvement in the hearing; in fact, the body can reject the implant (Haak n.d.). The sounds heard via a cochlear implant may be different from what is heard via the normal hearing; the implants can also interfere with other electronic devices, causing static (Haak n.d.).
The use of implants may lead to the development of severe diseases due to the possible contamination during the operation (Aldhafeeri & Alsanosi 2017). Also, the implants require maintenance, impose limitations on what people can do (for instance, high-contact sports should be avoided), and may cause complications such as skin irritation, partial paralysis of the face, ringing in the ears, loss of taste, and many others (Haak n.d.). Nevertheless, many of these disadvantages appear to be less severe than the inability to hear.
On the whole, it should be stressed that in every thousand of Saudi Arabian children, several tens of kids may have a hearing loss. Therefore, it is pivotal to provide them and their parents with the chance to have a cochlear implant installed as early as possible, for, despite several disadvantages, such implants may allow a child to have a life without severe impairment.
This part aims to consider two articles which are devoted to the application of cochlear implants for children. The articles discuss how using cochlear implants might assist in language acquisition. So as to ensure the scientific value, both of the articles provide empirical data for consideration and analysis as well as draw detailed conclusions.
The article “Language Skills of Children with Early Cochlear Implantation” is devoted to the issue of cochlear implantation in relation to children who acquire their first language (Geers, Nicolas & Sedey 2003). It is aimed to answer the question of whether cochlear implantation can help deaf children to learn how to speak their native language. The investigators carried out a test of 181 children aged between eight and nine who got their implant between two and four. The scientists did their best to take into account many variables which might have produced an impact on the result, namely, the family’s and children’s features.
The investigators prepared language tests to check various layers of the language, for instance, grammar, vocabulary, morphology, and syntaxes. The children took the tests. After that, they were checked, and the results were analyzed. The scientists arrived at the conclusion that children with a cochlear implant are capable of understanding and acquiring the language in almost the same way as children without any pathology. This result can be treated as promising.
Despite a long process of post-surgical rehabilitation, cochlear implantation gives deaf children a chance of hearing, developing their speech and communicative skills, as well as helps their socialization, develops their dignify and allows them to live a full life. Further research is expected to be devoted to children who got their implant before the age of two (Geers, Nicolas & Sedey 2003).
The article “Speech, Language, and Reading Skills after Early Cochlear Implantation” is aimed to consider the matter of matter of cochlear implantation in connection to kids (Geers 2004). As it is known, deaf children cannot learn how to speak. To improve a situation, cochlear implantation has been invented. It provides a gripping filed for investigation. 181 children took part in the study. They are eight and nine years old.
They were supposed to do some language tests so as to see whether they acquire language in the same way as their hearing counterparts. Tests were composed and conducted. The scientists took into account the variables which might affect the results. The children were tested to speak and to read. It was believed that children with cochlear implantation could hear and express their thought in the same way as other children do. However, the test showed that healthy children are much better in their language skills. Therefore, it is necessary to work out special programs which might help children with a cochlear implant to acquire the language to the full extent.
It will help children to find their place among other children, as well as get a good education and be successful. Since this research was devoted to children who underwent the surgery between 2 and 4, it is necessary to speak about children who received their implant before two and after five (Geers 2004).
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In conclusion it is necessary to state that this paper has considered two articles which are devoted to application of cochlear implants for children. The articles has discussed how using cochlear implants might assist in language acquisition. So as to ensure the scientific value, both of the articles have provided an empirical data for consideration and analysis as well as have drawn detailed conclusions.
Aldhafeeri, AM & Alsanosi, A 2017, ‘Management of surgery difficulties during cochlear implant with inner ear anomalies’, International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 45-49.
Al-Rowaily, MA, AlFayez, AI, AlJomiey, MS, AlBadr, AM & Abolfotouh, MA, 2012, ‘Hearing impairments among Saudi preschool children’, International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, vol. 76, no. 11, pp. 1674-1677.
Alsanosi, A & Hassan, SM 2014, ‘The effect of age at cochlear implantation outcomes in Saudi children’, International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 272-276.
Geers, AE 2004, ‘Speech, language, and reading skills after early cochlear implantation’, Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 130, pp.634-638.
Geers, AE, Nicholas, JG & Sedey, AL 2003, ‘Language skills of children with early cochlear implantation’, Ear & Hearing, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 46s-58s.
Haak, D n.d., Cochlear implants: pros & cons. Web.