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The Views of Young People

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We now have a large group of young people growing up with implants in the UK and the NDCS funded a research project at the Ear Foundation to look at the issues from their perspective.

We interviewed a group of 29 young people from Nottingham and Southampton cochlear implant programmes to ask them about what it is like to have a cochlear implant.

We were interested in the advantages and disadvantages of wearing a cochlear implant, how implants help them at home and school and whether they would recommend one to others.

We found that all the young people we interviewed were very positive about their implant and were happy that their parents had chosen it for them .

One third of the young people said that one big advantage of having an implant is that is helps communication with family and friends. Three quarters of them said that the implant helped them in school.

Some of them talked about how much they hate to be without their speech processor if it isn’t working- even for as long as it takes to change the batteries. When asked how it could be improved, a quarter couldn’t think of anything; many of the others wanted a truly waterproof speech processor that they could wear when swimming .

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The young people said that parents of young deaf children and other teenagers who have gone deaf should go ahead with an implant if they cannot be helped with hearing aids. They did not mind that their parents had made the choice for them when they were too young to do so themselves.

If you would like to look up this research it has been published as follows: Alexandra Wheeler, Sue Archbold, Susan Gregory, and Amy Skipp. Cochlear Implants: The Young People's Perspective Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Summer 2007;12:303-316. Please click here to access an online copy of the journal

The NDCS has published a booklet, written by Sue Gregory, which is based on the interviews carried out for this project.

This is available free of charge from the NDCS and also from The Ear Foundation.

It provides a useful tool for discussing issues around cochlear implantation with deaf young people, especially those who are thinking about having a cochlear implant themselves.