Immunizations and Cochlear Implants
Why Do Kids With Cochlear Implants Need Vaccines?
Children with cochlear implants have a higher risk than other kids of getting some types of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is a serious infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Vaccines can help protect against the most common infections that cause meningitis. That’s why it’s important for kids who are getting cochlear implants to get their vaccines, before and after surgery.
What Vaccines Should Be Given?
Children who get cochlear implants should get all their vaccines on time. Timing is based on the recommended immunization schedule.
These vaccines are especially important because they protect against ear infections and meningitis:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) for children younger than 5 years old
- pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)
- influenza (flu) every year for children older than 6 months, but only in shot form. The nasal spray should not be given to children with cochlear implants.
Also, kids over 2 years old who have or might get cochlear implants should get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Ideally, they should get their vaccines at least 2 weeks before implant surgery. If they don’t, they should get them as soon as possible after the surgery.
What Else Should I Know?
Immunizations help prevent many diseases and are safe for kids and teens with cochlear implants. Children with cochlear implants are not at higher risk for a type of meningitis called meningococcal meningitis. They can get the meningococcal vaccine and all other routine immunizations on time.