cochlear implant baby hearing loss

More “Yeah” for Cochlear Implants!!!

I have cheered cochlear implants for many years as everyone knows. When cochlear implants first came out I did not believe that they could possibly work. I thought “what a ridiculous idea.”  I have laughed at myself a lot about this. CI’s have changed the lives of so many people that is it difficult to believe. Clinically I have seen the benefits.

More and more research continues to confirm the benefits.

 

Max Planck institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences

 

The Max Planck institute is a good clinical/research center in Germany. Recent research has demonstrated that children with cochlear implants learn words faster than children with hearing. WOW!!!

A recent study the Max Planck Institute evaluated how children with cochlear implants learn compared to their hearing peers. Scientists analyzed the brain activities of children with cochlear implants using EEG. The children were fitted with caps with electrodes so brain activity could be measured while learning words.

Previous studies had shown that children with cochlear implants need longer to attain language and to distinguish their mother language from other languages. They seemed less ready to start school.

 

Do they benefit from their older age?

 

The current study demonstrated that when children get their cochlear implants they learn words at a faster rate than their hearing peers. So they build up pools of words faster. The researchers think this may be because children with cochlear implants have more general knowledge. For example, they know what a cup is for before they know the word. They know that food can be hot and that they need to be careful before they know the word hot.

 

The study

 

The neuroscientists at the Max Planck institute studying 32 children with bilateral cochlear implants. They tested then at 12, 18 and 24 months after implantation. They tested their ability to recognize words. They were shown pictures of objects which were either named correctly or incorrectly. They were able to monitor brain activity to know if the child recognized the incorrect word – meaning that they had learned the word. They report that age does not affect how fast children learn words. They seem to catch up even if learning words late.

However, feel the need to point out that these were still very young children. While this is good news, we should not extrapolate to children who are significantly older. There is no evidence that a child who is 8 or 10 or older could develop these listening skills.

 

 

 

About Jane Madell

Jane Madell has a consulting practice in pediatric audiology. She is an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and LSLS auditory verbal therapist, with a BA from Emerson College and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her 45+ years experience ranges from Deaf Nursery programs to positions at the League for the Hard of Hearing (Director), Long Island College Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as director of the Hearing and Learning Center and Cochlear Implant Center. Jane has taught at the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, Downstate Medical School, and Albert Einstein Medical School, published 5 books, and written numerous books chapters and journal articles, and is a well known international lecturer.

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