Tag Archives: Cochlear Implants

Babies with Hearing Impairments? We’ve got an “app” for that.

young girl with tabletAs parents, we try to find that edge; the advantages that will help our children grow and mature faster, stronger, better than we did when we were young.  We strive to make their paths to learning easier, to help them avoid the “school of hard knocks”, and for them to be smarter than we are and achieve more than we did.  Our parents wanted the same for us, and their parents the same for them.

Technology is a great way to stimulate the brain and get the creative juices flowing. With the visual nature of most people, video is naturally helping kick-start that learning curve quicker than ever before.  Avidex has played a role in finding these paths to learning and breaking down boundaries through everything from simple apps on your phone to complex distance education solutions used in the office or the home in corporate and medical environments.  One of our customers has found a way to help babies and parents with unique challenges through an innovative communication method…enjoy and get thinking!

15 month old Jenny sits playing on the floor. Like any new mother, her mommy watches her with wonder as she explores the world around her. Jenny looks up at her mother, pauses slightly, and then says “mamma”. Her mother stops in her tracks and starts crying with joy. In the life of an average 15 month old, this would not be a life shattering event. However, Jenny was born deaf. She received cochlear implants 3 months ago and this was her first word.

As of 2012, over 38,000 U.S. children with hearing impairments had received cochlear implants to assist them in hearing. The stories of their amazing turnarounds are being told every day, and many are not unlike the story above.

However, according to cochlear implant surgeon Nikolas Blevins, MD,

“Getting an implant is the easy part. The question is, what are you going to do with it once you’ve got it? Without follow-up education and therapy, it’s not a useful device. The patient will not develop speech.”

Patients that receive cochlear implants need speech therapy in order for the implants to create a meaningful difference. The problem is that not everyone has access to this type of resource. Stanford Medicine has an answer to that problem.

Baby Talk

Baby Talk is a speech therapy “app” developed by Stanford medicine that leverages the iPad to teach babies with cochlear implants how to talk.

With the help of Stanford and eager parents, BabyTalk is exploring the practicality of telemedicine, especially for high-risk, low-income families who live far from specialized medical professionals.”

Stanford has partnered with Weingarten Children’s Center on the project, and according to executive director Kathy Sussman,

“Our whole program is based on the notion that we can intervene with technology, developing listening and cognitive skills.”

The Baby Talk app leverages the iPad and Apple FaceTime and has been received well by both therapists and patients for several reasons.

  1. HIPPA RegulationsDoctor-patient relationships and patient medical records are deemed confidential and protected. FaceTime is an encrypted application for video conferencing and as such it is HIPPA compliant.
  2.  Audio and Video- FaceTime leverages both audio and video in the speech learning process. Video capability is extremely important as for babies it’s just as important to read lips as it is to hear the language. New research suggests that babies learn to speak while watching other’s lips.” 
  3. Curriculum- There is more to the Baby Talk app than just video conferencing. The iPad provides a platform for parent lesson plans that allow parents to continue speech therapy with their children using objects in their own home. We really are in the business of empowering parents to be effective language teachers for the children,” says Sussman.

The program is currently funded by a grant and can serve up to 30 children at a time. It is highly scalable and Stanford is optimistic that it will grow to reach many more babies between the critical ages of 0 and 3 years old. Given all this, it is no wonder that Kathy Sussman describes Baby Talk as “the future”.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.


#1: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/au/home/understand/my-child-was-born-deaf/hearing-stories-from-recipients/natalies-story/natalies-story

#2: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/coch.aspx

#3: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/12/therapy-via-ipad-aims-to-help-children-with-cochlear-implants-.html

#4: https://hearinglosscure.stanford.edu/2015/02/babytalk/

#5: http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/09/technology/ipads-deaf-kids-therapy/index.html

#6: http://www.weingartenchildrenscenter.org/assets/babytalk_flyer_v1web.pdf

#7: http://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/language-development/read-my-lips-how-babies-learn-to-speak-by-watching-you/


Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com