Evidence-based guidelines for recommending cochlear implantation for young children: Audiological criteria and optimizing age at implantation

Leigh, J.R. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 4 May 2016

Objective: Establish up-to-date evidence-based guidelines for recommending cochlear implantation for young children.

Design: Speech perception results for early-implanted children were compared to children using traditional amplification. Equivalent pure-tone average (PTA) hearing loss for cochlear implant (CI) users was established. Language of early-implanted children was assessed over six years and compared to hearing peers.

Study sample: Seventy-eight children using CIs and 62 children using traditional amplification with hearing losses ranging 25–120 dB HL PTA (speech perception study). Thirty-two children who received a CI before 2.5 years of age (language study).

Results: Speech perception outcomes suggested that children with a PTA greater than 60 dB HL have a 75% chance of benefit over traditional amplification. More conservative criteria applied to the data suggested that children with PTA greater than 82 dB HL have a 95% chance of benefit. Children implanted under 2.5 years with no significant cognitive deficits made normal language progress but retained a delay approximately equal to their age at implantation.

Conclusions: Hearing-impaired children under three years of age may benefit from cochlear implantation if their PTA exceeds 60 dB HL bilaterally. Implantation as young as possible should minimize any language delay resulting from an initial period of auditory deprivation.

Read the abstract here

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