Enduring Advantages of Early Cochlear Implantation for Spoken Language Development Purpose In this article, the authors sought to determine whether the precise age of implantation (AOI) remains an important predictor of spoken language outcomes in later childhood for those who received a cochlear implant (CI) between 12 and 38 months of age. Relative advantages of receiving a bilateral CI after ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Enduring Advantages of Early Cochlear Implantation for Spoken Language Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ann E. Geers
    University of Texas at Dallas
  • Johanna G. Nicholas
    Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Correspondence to Ann E. Geers: ageers@utdallas.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Sean Redmond
    Associate Editor: Sean Redmond×
Article Information
Development / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Enduring Advantages of Early Cochlear Implantation for Spoken Language Development
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 643-655. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0347)
History: Received December 19, 2011 , Revised April 27, 2012 , Accepted August 6, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 643-655. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0347)
History: Received December 19, 2011; Revised April 27, 2012; Accepted August 6, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

Purpose In this article, the authors sought to determine whether the precise age of implantation (AOI) remains an important predictor of spoken language outcomes in later childhood for those who received a cochlear implant (CI) between 12 and 38 months of age. Relative advantages of receiving a bilateral CI after age 4.5 years, better pre-CI-aided hearing, and longer CI experience were also examined.

Method Sixty children participated in a prospective longitudinal study of outcomes at 4.5 and 10.5 years of age. Twenty-nine children received a sequential second CI. Test scores were compared with normative samples of hearing age mates, and predictors of outcomes were identified.

Results Standard scores on language tests at 10.5 years of age remained significantly correlated with age of first cochlear implantation. Scores were not associated with receipt of a second, sequentially acquired CI. Significantly higher scores were achieved for vocabulary as compared with overall language, a finding not evident when the children were tested at younger ages.

Conclusion Age-appropriate spoken language skills continued to be more likely with younger AOI, even after an average of 8.6 years of additional CI use. Receipt of a second implant between ages 4 and 10 years and longer duration of device use did not provide significant added benefit.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC004168. Special thanks to Michael Strube for statistical consultation; Sarah Fessenden, Christine Brenner, and Julia Biedenstein for help with data collection, research camp coordination, data management, and analysis; and to all of the children and families who volunteered to participate as well as the schools and audiologists whose contributions made this research possible.
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