Bilateral cochlear implants in children: A study of speech and language outcomes (2008–2011)
In recent years, an increasing number of profoundly hearing impaired children are receiving bilateral cochlear implants (CI). However, little is known of the benefits of bilateral implantation over unilateral implantation in regards to speech and language outcomes.
Parents of children with hearing impair- ment, and the health professionals who work with them, need to make complex decisions about whether or not children should receive bilateral implants. Children who receive one implant generally wear a hearing aid in the other ear and research indicates that this is beneficial in the majority of cases (Ching, Psarros, Hill, Dillon, & Incerti, 2001). The decision to change the child to bilateral implants is complex because of the costs involved in this treatment and because of the fact that the process of fitting of a CI means that hearing aid fitting will not be possible in the future. Parents are motivated by a desire to achieve the best possible speech and language outcomes for the child with hearing impairment. Understanding binaural benefit in speech and language development will add to the current knowledge and allow a more comprehensive view on the benefits of bilateral cochlear implantation. Further, understanding the extent to which children with bilateral CI experience binaural advantage will be useful when counselling parents on the potential benefits of binaural hearing devices.
The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the benefits of bilateral CIs in children and the factors related to outcomes. Specifically, we will focus on the speech and language growth for a group of children who underwent sequential bilateral cochlear implantation and investigate the factors which influence outcomes.