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!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy