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Cochlear Implant Program

Contact number | 202-476-3925
Audiologist installs hearing aid for child

Finding Help with Hearing Loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 2-3 out of 1,000 children in the United States are born with unilateral or bilateral hearing loss.

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If your child is deaf or hard-of-hearing, it can significantly impact their cognitive, linguistic, and social development, making spoken language, social interactions and the ability to learn in a mainstream environment difficult. If your child does not receive appropriate benefit from hearing aids, they could be considered for cochlear implant surgery to provide better auditory access for communication and speech and language development. 

Our team can help guide you through this process before, during and after surgery, providing you and your child with extensive support.

Choosing the Cochlear Implant Program at Children’s National

The Cochlear Implant Program at Children’s National performs approximately 50 cochlear implant surgeries each year, which is more than any other pediatric cochlear implant program in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Highlights of our program include:

  • World-renowned experts. Our team is comprised of pediatric specialists who treat children with all levels and types of hearing loss and perform a wide range of surgeries to improve access to sound. We have performed over 300 cochlear implant surgeries in the past 7 years, and we operate on children as young as 6 months old.
  • Care for all. Through our community health services and programs, we can expand access to care and provide cochlear implant surgery to more patients and families. We offer cochlear implant candidacy testing and cochlear implant programming follow-up appointments at various specialty care centers throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. 
  • A smooth and streamlined process. Our specialists provide seamless care before, during and after cochlear implant surgery, ensuring that your child receives quality care in the safest environment. We value the interdisciplinary team approach throughout the cochlear implant candidacy process to ensure each child and their families complete each step in the most efficient manner. 
  • Supportive recovery. After implantation, we support patients through auditory habilitation/rehabilitation, speech and language intervention, and close coordination between parents, schools, and the cochlear implant center to maximize benefit from the use of a cochlear implant and support each family’s goals for communication and language development. 

Our Team Approach

At Children’s National, we value a family centered multidisciplinary approach to care. Infants and children are evaluated by members of our Cochlear Implant Team, including pediatric otolaryngologists, audiologists and speech language pathologists. Each member of the team brings their unique expertise to a monthly team meeting to review each child’s candidacy for cochlear implant surgery. The cochlear implant team also works closely with outside physicians, audiologists, speech language pathologists and early intervention programs to ensure that early intervention is accessible to all children who may be candidates for a cochlear implant.

The Importance of Early Intervention for Hearing Loss

Early intervention is key for spoken language development because a child’s neuroplasticity peaks within the first two years of life, and over time, the brain’s ability to adapt to – and make sense of – new stimuli declines. Without auditory stimulation, the auditory cortex begins to shut down and can no longer process sounds into meaningful data. Therefore, it is vital to have your child evaluated early for suspected hearing loss. Children who develop hearing loss after birth, or who have progressive or declining hearing loss, may also be candidates for cochlear implant surgery, depending on their hearing levels. Older children can be referred if their parents, school, or managing audiologists are concerned for a decrease in hearing or decrease in benefit with their appropriately programmed hearing aids.

Single Sided Deafness (SSD)

In 2019, the FDA approved cochlear implant surgery as a viable treatment option for adults and children ages 5 years and older with profound hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing (or asymmetrical hearing loss) in the other ear. Our Center is also offering cochlear implant surgery for those children with SSD who are determined to be appropriate candidates.

Learn how cochlear implant surgery can help to give your child better access to hearing to support his or her communication, speech and language development, if he or she is not receiving appropriate benefit with his or her hearing aids.

Contact Us

For more information about the Cochlear Implant Program, please call Racquel Jefferson, Cochlear Implant program coordinator, at 202-476-3925.

Molly's Story

Hearing Loss

Mollys Story

3-year-old Molly is obsessed with the movie “Frozen.” And like the fearless princess in Disney’s icy animated epic, there’s something very special about Molly. She was born deaf.

Molly's Story

Cochlear Implant Program Team

  • Diego Preciado

    Diego Preciado
    Division Chief, Ear, Nose, and Throat (Otolaryngology)
    Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship
    Co-Director of the Cochlear Implant Program
    Otolaryngologist

  • Brian Reilly

    Brian Reilly
    Co-Director of the Cochlear Implant Program
    Otolaryngologist

  • Tracey Ambrose

    Tracey Ambrose
    Lead Audiologist

  • Claire Buxton

    Claire Buxton
    Audiologist

  • Patricia Craun

    Patricia Craun
    Audiologist

  • Aubrey Ellis

    Aubrey Ellis
    Audiologist

  • Emily Fustos

    Emily Fustos
    Audiologist

  • Sherwood Holloway

    Sherwood Holloway
    Physician Assistant

  • Leslie Sofia Prado

    Leslie Prado
    Physician Assistant

  • Debra Anderson

    Debra Anderson
    Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Tiara Booth

    Tiara Booth
    Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Children's National Hospital

    Racquel Jefferson
    Hearing Loss Coordinator