Earlier Cochlear Implants Beneficial

BALTIMORE, April 21 (UPI) — Deaf children who get a cochlear implant at a younger age have steeper rates of speech improvement, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, led by Dr. John Niparko, found the younger the hearing impaired child receiving an implant relaying acoustic signals transformed into an electrical code to the cochlea of the ear the more speech performance paralleled development in children who can hear.

“Cochlear implantation after 18 months of age was associated with less favorable trajectories of improvement in performance and greater variability in measures of both comprehension and expression,” the study authors said in a statement.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found children undergoing cochlear implantation showed greater spoken language improvement than predicted by their preimplantation baseline scores.

Niparko and colleagues evaluated language development over a 3-year period in 188 children undergoing cochlear implantation before age 5 and in 97 hearing children of similar ages.

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