Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For children with hearing loss: The earlier the better for cochlear implants

21.04.2010
Receiving a cochlear implant before 18 months of age dramatically improves a deaf child's ability to hear, understand and, eventually, speak, according to a multicenter study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins.

The study, published in the April 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is believed to be the first nationwide look at the impact of surgical timing on the success rate of the implants. The surgery consists of placing a small electronic device into the ear that bypasses the inner ear's damaged nerve cells and transmits sound signals to the brain.

The researchers followed 188 children, ages 6 months to 5 years, with profound hearing loss for three years after receiving cochlear implants at six U.S. hospitals. They tracked the children's newly emerging ability to recognize speech after the implant, and compared their levels of language development to those of 97 same-age children with normal hearing.

While speech and language skills improved in all children regardless of age after they received a cochlear implant, age emerged as a powerful predictor in just how much improvement was seen. The finding points to a critical window for diagnosis and treatment, one that does not stay open for very long. Therefore, the researchers say, delaying implantation deprives children of essential exposure to sounds and speech during the formative phases of development when the brain starts to interpret the meaning of sounds and speech.

"We identified a clear pattern where implantation before 18 months of age conferred a much greater benefit than later implantation, allowing children to catch up fast, sometimes to nearly normal levels," says lead investigator John Niparko, M.D., director of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins. "Delaying intervention until a child loses every last bit of hearing deprives the brain of much-needed sound and speech stimulation that is needed to develop language."

Each year of delay, the investigators say, can put a child a year behind in language development. Therefore all young infants with suspected hearing loss, and those with family history, should be monitored vigilantly and referred for treatment immediately, they say.

Even though the children in the study never reached the language levels of their hearing counterparts, those who received cochlear implants developed a decidedly better ability to understand and speak than they would have without the device, the researchers found.

Indeed, when researchers looked at children of all ages, their ability to understand speech grew twice as fast as it would have been expected to without the device (10.4 vs. 5.4). Their ability to communicate back, either with words or other age-appropriate modes of expression, grew nearly one and a half times faster than it would have without an implant (8.4 vs. 5.8).

Children who received a cochlear implant before age 18 months nearly caught up with their normal-hearing counterparts over the subsequent three years. Children who received implants after age 3 had language gaps that corresponded directly to the length of delay before receiving the implant.

The study also showed that children implanted before age 18 months managed to reach speech and language developmental milestones much faster than those who received their implants later, revealing gaps between a child's chronological and language ages. For example, children with normal hearing reached a key speech comprehension milestone at age 27 months, on average, and children who received an implant before age 18 months did so around age 3 years. But those who received an implant after they turned 18 months and before they were 3, reached that milestone 15 months later than children who received an implant before age 18 months. Those who received an implant after age 3 did not reach the milestone until nearly two years later, on average, when compared with children who received an implant before 18 months of age.

When researchers looked at verbal expression milestones, a similar pattern of delay emerged. The gap between chronologic age and language age grew wider the later a child underwent implantation.

Another important factor in language development was how soon and how much the parents interacted with a child, the study found.

"The impact of early cochlear implantation was greatly augmented in children whose caregivers use language to engage them," Niparko said. "And we cannot overestimate the importance of caregiver communication with babies at a very early age, whether they have some degree of hearing loss or normal hearing."

Co-investigators on the study include Emily Tobey, Ph.D., Donna Thal, Ph.D., Laurie Eisenberg, Ph.D., Nae-Yuh Wang, Ph.D., Alexandra Quittner, Ph.D., Nancy Fink, M.P.H.

The other institutions involved in the study were the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Texas at Dallas, and the River School in Washington, D.C.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, by the CityBridge Foundation and by the Sidgmore Family Foundation.

Niparko serves without compensation on the advisory boards for two cochlear implant manufacturers, Advanced Bionics Corporation and the Cochlear Corporation. He also serves on the boards of directors of two schools for children with hearing loss that received gifts from the cochlear implant manufacturers. The terms of these arrangements are being managed by the Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.

Related on the Web:

Cochlear Implant Information
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/specialty_areas/listencenter/cochlear_info.html
John Niparko
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/our_team/faculty/niparko.html

Ekaterina Pesheva | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>