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Different types of deaf and severely hard of hearing people choose cochlear implants. Both children and adults can be candidates for implants. Approximately 25,000 people worldwide have received implants. In the United States, some 14,000 people have implants; about half of these are adults and half are children.
Adults who have lost all or most of their hearing later in life can often benefit from cochlear implants. These older candidates can often associate the sounds made through an implant with sounds they remember. This may help them to understand speech without visual cues or systems such as lipreading or sign language.
Young children can also be candidates for implants. Cochlear implants, coupled with intensive post-implantation therapy, can help young children to acquire speech, language, developmental, and social skills. The best age for implantation is still being debated, but most children who receive implants are between 2 and 6 years old. Earlier implantation seems to perform better.
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