Kids with cochlear implants since infancy more likely to speak, not sign

March 05, 2019

Researchers from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago present further evidence that deaf children who received cochlear implants (implanted electronic hearing device) before 12 months of age learn to more rapidly understand spoken language and are more likely to develop spoken language as their exclusive form of communication. In their study, published in Otology and Neurotology, this was true even for children with additional conditions often associated with language delay, such as significantly premature birth. Researchers also showed that implantation surgery and anesthesia were safe in young children, including infants.

"Our results clearly show that kids who received cochlear implants in infancy make progress more rapidly and are more likely to use spoken language as their sole means of communication" says lead author Stephen Hoff, MD, from Lurie Children's, who is also Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "More than 90% of deaf children have hearing parents. Most parents hope that a cochlear implant will enable their child to talk. However, early implantation is not a public policy priority. For this reason, many children are not evaluated for cochlear implantation until they are over age 12 months."

Currently, every state has a newborn hearing screening requirement, which has resulted in earlier diagnosis of hearing loss and fitting of hearing aids. However, no public policy promotes early identification of deaf infants whose hearing would be much improved with cochlear implantation in comparison to hearing aids.

"Cochlear implants are remarkable in that they enable children to hear the high pitch consonants such as "s". These are the sounds that hearing aids cannot make audible to deaf children. The sooner children are able to hear through an implant, the more likely they will understand when others talk, and learn to speak clearly," says senior author Nancy Young, MD, Medical Director of Audiology and Cochlear Implant Programs at Lurie Children's and Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Infants should be evaluated to determine if cochlear implantation would provide superior hearing. The procedure is safe and the results can be transformative."

In the study, researchers reviewed Lurie Children's experience with 219 children who underwent cochlear implantation before they were three years old, including a group of 39 children who were implanted when younger than 12 months of age. The mean age at last follow-up was 7.5 years. They found that implanted infants developed word understanding ability one year earlier than those implanted as toddlers and were more likely to use spoken language alone to communicate. Children who were implanted after 2 years of age were much less likely to use spoken language exclusively.

Drs. Young and Hoff are preparing to lead a multicenter clinical trial on the safety and efficacy of implantation of infants and children receiving a MED-El cochlear implant system. The study, expected to open later in 2019, has the potential to expand Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling for cochlear implantation to children as young as age 7 months of age. At present all cochlear implant systems have approval for use in children 12 months of age and older, based upon FDA clinical trials done several decades ago. However, many implant programs use these devices off label based on more recent studies indicating superior outcome.
-end-
Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children's is ranked as one of the nation's top children's hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 212,000 children from 49 states and 51 countries.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Related Cochlear Implant Articles from Brightsurf:

University of Sydney research could lead to customised cochlear implants
A School of Biomedical Engineering researcher has analysed the accuracy of predictions for cochlear implant outcomes, with a view to further improve their performance in noisy environments.

Cochlear implants should be recommended for adults more often
An international group of hearing specialists has released a new set of recommendations emphasizing that cochlear implants should be offered to adults who have moderate to severe or worse hearing loss much more often than is the current practice.

Wireless, optical cochlear implant uses LED lights to restore hearing in rodents
Scientists have created an optical cochlear implant based on LED lights that can safely and partially restore the sensation of hearing in deaf rats and gerbils.

Improved cochlear implant device allows safe MRI in children without discomfort
A study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago found that children with a MED-EL Synchrony cochlear implant device can undergo MRI safely, with no discomfort and reduced need for sedation or anesthesia.

A test of a customized implant for hip replacement
A team of scientists from the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Center of the National Technology Initiative (NTI) of Peter the Great St.

University of Miami team investigates why candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them
University of Miami researchers published a study in JAMA Oncology-Head and Neck Surgery that examines why adult candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them.

Kids with cochlear implants since infancy more likely to speak, not sign
Researchers from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago present further evidence that deaf children who received cochlear implants (implanted electronic hearing device) before 12 months of age learn to more rapidly understand spoken language and are more likely to develop spoken language as their exclusive form of communication.

Older adults fitted with cochlear implants exhibit poor brain function
Older adults fitted with a cochlear implant to compensate for severe hearing loss have significantly poorer cognitive function than their normal-hearing counterparts.

Synchronizing cochlear signals stimulates brain to 'hear' in stereo
Using both ears to hear increases speech recognition and improves sound localization.

Mount Sinai researcher identifies best practices for cochlear implant hearing preservation
Findings could transform treatment worldwide and enhance patient care.

Read More: Cochlear Implant News and Cochlear Implant Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.