The University of Southampton

Early days

teacher at nurseryHearing people are always hearing, it sounds obvious but even at night when loud sounds interrupt sleep they are still wired to listen and react to sound. Often when children receive their cochlear implants when they are babies or very young, they have had little or no prior experience of listening to spoken language. The child’s initial tuning appointment is day one of their hearing journey. Even if they have been able to hear in the past through their hearing aids or normal hearing, sounds will be very different and it takes time for their brains to adjust to the new signal. If they have never heard sounds before then they will have had no listening experience and will need to develop foundation skills.

Foundation Skills

If children use their cochlear implants all the time they are awake, they will be maximising the opportunity for hearing language and for language learning. Be aware if your child or the child you support is NOT using his/her processors all of the time both in school and at home, this will limit their progress and affect their ability to develop speech and language through audition.

Generally young children with implants follow a similar route of language learning to their hearing peers, assuming they have good access to sound via their cochlear implants. However, they will often reach milestones later.


Can you think of any other factors that may have affected the communication development of the child you are working with? Click to find out


Key concepts