Melody, a plush mascot, is given to children receiving cochlear implants to comfort them through the process of surgery, activation, and rehabilitation, says the company.

Advanced Bionics, Valencia, Calif, introduces its Bionic Ears for Kids kit, with the newest addition to the Bionic family—Melody, a plush monkey mascot—and several new accessories to help make living with a cochlear implant more user-friendly for pediatric patients, says the company.

The following new accessories were included in the kit:

  • A platinum speech processor (PSP) bilateral harness, available in pink or blue, that holds and protects two processors.
  • A Bionic Buddy Critter Clip that attaches to the child’s clothing so if the processor falls off the ear, it won’t go too far.
  • A Snuggie that securely fits over little ears to keep the active child’s processor in place
  • The Adventures of Bionic Buddy DVD that explains the cochlear implant process to children in a cartoon format.

Kits were delivered to audiologists and clinicians at more than 200 centers nationwide, and  100 additional centers received the company’s latest child-centered brochure titled Bionic Ears for Kids.

Melody is given to children receiving cochlear implants to comfort them through the process of surgery, activation, and rehabilitation, says the company. Melody, who has two bionic ears, joins her older brother Buddy, who is implanted with one, on their journeys to hearing, says the company. The doll’s musical moniker pays homage to the company’s commitment to software upgrades for its “bionic ears” that enable high-quality music listening, the company says. Its Harmony® HiResolution® Bionic Ear System offers an advanced listening experience, and features the 120 spectral bands necessary for deaf patients to go beyond deciphering simple speech to hearing music, says the company.
The company’s Bionic Ear Association (BEA) serves as a support network to meet the needs of children with cochlear implants and their families. The BEA offers tools, educational materials, and training.

Some of these programs include:

  •, an online community forum that serves as an online connection with other cochlear implant families.
  • Tools For Schools, a program that provides school and hearing professionals with the educational and rehabilitative resources needed to foster a child’s auditory, speech, and language development.
  • The Listening Room,™ a support Web site for parents and professionals that provides ideas, materials, and guidance to promote active listening and language stimulation.

Children who are born deaf or lose their hearing before the age of 3 can experience a significant delay in language development, according to the company, noting further that parents who implant their children at an early age are taking a decisive step toward narrowing the language gap between their child and their normal-hearing peers.
Jeff Greiner, the company’s CEO, said in a statement released by the company that by age 3, children need to hear approximately 30,000 words a day to develop the language skills necessary to succeed in school. The more parents know about the benefit of early implantation, the more willing they are to implant their young children to provide them a better future, he added.
[Source: Advanced Bionics]