10 November 2014

Bilateral cochlear implants give the best language development

Children with bilateral cochlear implants are found to have better language and vocabulary skills than children with unilateral cochlear implants, a study shows.

A study shows significantly faster rates of vocabulary and language development among the children with bilateral CIs (cochlear implants) than unilateral users. The results are found in a comparative study of children with bilateral and unilateral CIs, conducted by an Australian research team.

Bilateral compared to unilateral

The study of the vocabulary and language development of 91 children with either bilateral or unilateral CIs took place when the children were 5 years old and again when they turned 8.

The research showed that the children using bilateral CIs achieved better vocabulary outcomes and significantly higher scores on the Core and Expressive Language subscales of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals than children with unilateral CIs.

While the scores on the Preschool Language Scales did not indicate any difference between the children with the two CIs, the 8-year-old children with bilateral CIs had a considerably better language outcome than the unilateral children. 

Over all, the bilateral CI users were found to predict faster rates of vocabulary and language development than unilateral CI users.

Cochlear implantations 

Unilateral cochlear implantation provides its user with a high level of speech understanding; however the loss of binaural hearing generally results in hampered perception while being in a noisy environment, leading to an increased listening effort.

With a bilateral CI, the user is able to achieve binaural hearing offering additional speech perception and localisation benefits e.g. for children with severe to profound hearing loss.

The research was conducted by a research team from the University of Melbourne in Australia. The study was published on The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 

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