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Authors Hess C, Zettler-Greeley C, Godar SP, Ellis-Weismer S, Litovsky RY
Author Profile(s)
Journal Ear Hear Volume: 35 Issue: 4 Pages: 387-95
Publish Date 2014 Jul-Aug
PubMed ID 24496290
PMC ID 4083502

Growing evidence suggests that children who are deaf and use cochlear implants (CIs) can communicate effectively using spoken language. Research has reported that age of implantation and length of experience with the CI play an important role in a predicting a child’s linguistic development. In recent years, the increase in the number of children receiving bilateral CIs (BiCIs) has led to interest in new variables that may also influence the development of hearing, speech, and language abilities, such as length of bilateral listening experience and the length of time between the implantation of the two CIs. One goal of the present study was to determine how a cohort of children with BiCIs performed on standardized measures of language and nonverbal cognition. This study examined the relationship between performance on language and nonverbal intelligence quotient (IQ) tests and the ages at implantation of the first CI and second CI. This study also examined whether early bilateral activation is related to better language scores.Children with BiCIs (n = 39; ages 4 to 9 years) were tested on two standardized measures, the Test of Language Development and the Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised, to evaluate their expressive/receptive language skills and nonverbal IQ/memory. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to evaluate whether BiCI hearing experience predicts language performance.While large intersubject variability existed, on average, almost all the children with BiCIs scored within or above normal limits on measures of nonverbal cognition. Expressive and receptive language scores were highly variable, less likely to be above the normative mean, and did not correlate with Length of first CI Use, defined as length of auditory experience with one cochlear implant, or Length of second CI Use, defined as length of auditory experience with two cochlear implants.All children in the present study had BiCIs. Most IQ scores were either at or above that found in the general population of typically hearing children. However, there was greater variability in their performance on a standardized test of expressive and receptive language. This cohort of children, who are mainstreamed in schools at age-appropriate grades, whose mothers’ education is high, and whose families’ socioecononomic status is high, had, as a group, on average, language scores within the same range as the normative sample of hearing children. Further research identifying the predictors that contribute to the high variability in both expressive and receptive language scores in children with BiCIs will provide useful information that can aid in clinical management and decision making.

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