Cochlear implants have the greatest effect when introduced at the same time and at an early stage. This is shown in a study of children with prelingual hearing loss.
Children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss experience the greatest improvement if their hearing loss is detected earlier and implants are introduced as soon as is practically possible as well as through the use of oral and auditory communication therapies. This is shown by two studies.
Two implants better than one
In the first study, 25 children with bilateral cochlear implants were compared with 25 children with unilateral cochlear implants. The study, which was carried out in Belgium and Holland, showed that children with bilateral cochlear implants managed much better in both receptive and expressive language tests than children with unilateral cochlear implants.
The study also indicates that whether the implants are introduced concurrently, with a shorter interval or after a longer interval also has an influence. The children who were given both cochlear implants at the same time also experienced the best results in spoken language tests compared to those who had been through two sequential implants. A short interval between operations has also been shown to be better than a longer interval.
The second study showed that children aged 10-17 with unilateral cochlear implants and prelingual hearing loss showed a clear improvement in objective hearing measures in the first year after receiving their implant.
Children who had received a cochlear implant at an early age and primarily used oral communication before receiving their implant also showed better results than their contemporaries in tests.
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