Recently, the number of children with hearing disorders who have undergone cochlear implantation has increased, leading to great achievements in the learning of hearing and speech for children with severe hearing disorders. However, from those actually active in fields related to the learning of hearing and speech, various questions with respect to training have been raised; for example, what kinds of postoperative training should be given to such children, and what kinds of training are provided at other facilities? Therefore, it is essential to study the status of training to answer these questions.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare gives importance to opinions from those actually active in the field and has begun a study of the actual status of the methods of speech training for children with cochlear implants, and of the necessity of developing an appropriate training method, as part of its activities in promoting the wide application of cochlear implants for children with severe hearing disorders. We have inaugurated the ﾒNationwide survey on the status of speech training for children with cochlear implants and development of a method of speech trainingﾓ supported by Health Science Research Grants, and have been making efforts to fulfill the objectives of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, from fiscal 1999 to 2001. Our aim is to carry out a nationwide survey on how speech training is performed after cochlear implantation in children who have no experience with hearing or speech and to develop an appropriate training method.
The nationwide survey was performed from January to March 2000 at medical facilities, schools for the deaf and facilities for children with hearing disorders. The training environment at each facility was studied, and for each, the status of the training of children who received cochlear implants at the age of seven years or younger and their achievements in learning speech were studied. Results of the nationwide survey are now available to the public on the Internet. It will be an unexpected pleasure if the results of the questionnaire can be useful as basic data for improving the training for children with cochlear implants. We also hope that the results of this questionnaire will be made more relevant as a result of candid feedback from the public. Facilities which responded to the questionnaire are acknowledged in a separate volume under cooperative organizations; we express our gratitude to them.
December 1st 2001