Children with hearing loss who are fitted with a second cochlear implant early in life develop better language skills, according to a five-year study.
“Children in this study with bilateral CIs developed vocabulary and spoken language significantly faster than children with only one CI. This has enormous implications for their long-term future,” says Julia Sarant, lead researchers in the audiology and speech pathology department at University of Melbourne.
Severe-profound congenital hearing loss is a significant cost to society. In 2005, specialized education cost on average $25,000 per child, loss of productivity cost $6.7 billion, and social security benefits were paid to approximately 129,000 individuals who were unemployed due to hearing loss.
The study, published in the journal Ear and Hearing, was conducted across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and New Zealand, involving cochlear implant clinics and early intervention centers with more than 160 children.
Recently, the New Zealand Health Department recommended a change of the current federal funding policy in favor of having all hearing-impaired children younger than the age of six years fitted with bilateral implants.
Source: University of Melbourne