Research finds positive long-term outcomes of cochlear implantation

November 27, 2013

Penn State Brandywine Assistant Professor of Psychology Daniela Martin, of Media, is on the frontline of significant, unique research. With the first generation of cochlear implant recipients reaching adulthood, Martin and her colleagues are out to discover the long-term psychological outcomes of this relatively new medical procedure.

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device surgically implanted into the inner ear that provides a sense of sound to those who are profoundly deaf or who are hearing impaired.

Because of today's cochlear implant technology; profoundly deaf frequently attend mainstream schools with children who have normal hearing, which wasn't always an option in the past.

Martin said that this integration of into mainstream schools is great but "it raises many questions related to the child's social and psychological adjustment. Now you're dealing with a disability status, minority population with specific needs that is integrated into a mainstream environment. That's where our research comes in."

Martin's latest study, co-authored by Bat-Chava and Imperatore, was published in Child: care, health and development, and is titled "Long-term improvements in oral and quality of peer relations in children with : Parental testimony." The study examines the continuing developments in oral communication skills and peer relationships of 19 implanted children.

Martin said they used a longitudinal interview design, meaning they contacted the parents and implant recipients on various occasions to follow-up with their progression over time. The study follows children for an average of nine years after receiving implants.

The research shows that on average, children improve in oral communication skills and have better peer relationships years after implantation, rather than immediately after. Even implant recipients who performed poorly several years after the procedure continue to improve.

"Since the implants are still very new, we didn't actually know how implanted children would do as young adults in mainstream schools," Martin said. "Now we're finding out for the first time. The message in the years of research that we have done is that the children are doing very well overall."

What helps deaf adolescents cope in middle school? The findings of their study suggest that deaf children should be supported in their early development to build healthy levels of self-esteem and confidence. The degree to which implanted children are accepted by mainstream schools – whether they are understood by their teachers and peers – can also help improve their peer relationships.

Martin hopes this research will help people better serve children with cochlear implants, improving their lives on numerous levels.

"There are people waiting to find out how these children are doing: parents, teachers, school counselors," Martin said. "Our study helps us understand how the needs of these children change as they go from kindergarten to middle and high school. The social environments are very different. The challenges change."

Explore further: Mom's sensitivity helps language development in children with hearing loss

Related Stories

Mom's sensitivity helps language development in children with hearing loss

March 8, 2013
University of Miami (UM) Psychologist Alexandra L. Quittner leads one of the largest, most nationally representative studies of the effects of parenting on very young, deaf children who have received cochlear implants. The ...

World-first device offers new insight into life with a cochlear implant

October 30, 2013
A new imaging device will be launched on Macquarie University's campus today, helping researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) better understand ...

New strategy lets cochlear implant users hear music

October 9, 2013
For many, music is a universal language that unites people when words cannot. But for those who use cochlear implants—technology that allows deaf and hard of hearing people to comprehend speech—hearing music remains extremely ...

Two bionic ears are better than the sum of their parts

September 20, 2012
Cochlear implants—electronic devices surgically implanted in the ear to help provide a sense of sound—have been successfully used since the late 1980's. But questions remain as to whether bilateral cochlear implants, ...

Recommended for you

Children who sleep an hour less at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, says study

August 15, 2017
A study has found that children who slept on average one hour less a night had higher risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance.

Low blood sugars in newborns linked to later difficulties

August 8, 2017
A newborn condition affecting one in six babies has been linked to impairment in some high-level brain functions that shows up by age 4.5 years.

Can breast milk feed a love of vegetables?

August 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—Want your preschooler to eat veggies without a fuss? Try eating veggies while you're breast-feeding.

Small drop in measles vaccinations would have outsized effect, study estimates

July 24, 2017
Small reductions in childhood measles vaccinations in the United States would produce disproportionately large increases in the number of measles cases and in related public health costs, according to a new study by researchers ...

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.