Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

With cochlear implants, earlier use leads to better speech

03.07.2006
"Bye-bye, bye-bye," said one 3 and a half-year old child, born deaf but with a cochlear implant that partially restored hearing nine months earlier. That's the most complex speech the child uttered during a testing session that involved play with a toy train set.

In contrast, a child of the same age who had a cochlear implant 31 months earlier made more sophisticated statements: "OK, now the people goes to stand there with that noise and now -- Woo! Woo!" and "OK, the train's coming to get the animals and people."

The testing session was part of research that indicates the earlier a deaf infant or toddler receives a cochlear implant, the better his or her spoken language skills at age 3 and a half. The research was conducted by Johanna Grant Nicholas, Ph.D., research associate professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleague Ann E. Geers, Ph.D., from the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Ninety percent of children born deaf are born to hearing parents, and these parents know very little about deafness," Nicholas says. "They don't know how to have a conversation in sign language or teach it to their children. Many of these parents would like their children to learn spoken language."

The researchers tested the spoken language skills of 76 children, all 3 and a half years old, who had cochlear implants and compared those results to the length of time each child had his or her implant. They found that with increased implant time, children's vocabulary was richer, their sentences longer and more complex and their use of irregular words more frequent. The researchers' work was reported in the June issue of Ear and Hearing.

Nicholas notes that many of the children who received cochlear implants at the youngest ages have nearly the same spoken language skills as children with normal hearing. The researchers' further studies -- not yet published -- suggest that by age 4 and a half, children who had cochlear implants very early often have normal speech and can potentially enter kindergarten with their hearing peers.

"Kids with residual hearing can get some help from hearing aids, but cochlear implants give a tremendous hearing advantage over hearing aids -- the implants provide more sound information," Nicholas says. "For example, high-frequency sounds are magnified more with cochlear implants, so kids can hear 's' sounds and 'ed' endings better. So they tend to catch on to plurals and verb tenses faster."

While studies like this and others favor early implantation, the decision for or against cochlear implantation is frequently put off, Nicholas indicates. Hearing parents often find they need time to learn about deafness and potential treatments. Implantation also may be delayed to make certain an infant's deafness has not been misdiagnosed.

Even when deafness is confirmed, the idea of head surgery for their baby makes many parents hesitate. And they may be daunted by the fact that a cochlear implant is forever -- the device destroys any residual hearing so that hearing aids are no longer an option.

"Studies like ours are meant to help answer parents' questions about cochlear implants," Nicholas says. "Our overall goal is to focus on the best age for implantation. If the window of time for the best outcome is small, we want parents to know that. With the results we've seen so far, we believe that it is best to implant when the child is younger than 24 months if parents want a deaf child to use spoken language at the same level as their hearing peers."

Nicholas is also on the faculty of the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS) at Washington University School of Medicine. The PACS program is part of a consortium of programs formerly operated by Central Institute for the Deaf and now collectively known as CID at Washington University School of Medicine.

Nicholas JG, Geers AE. Effects of early auditory experience on the spoken language of deaf children at 3 years of age. Ear and Hearing 2006;27(3):286-289.

Gwen Ericson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>