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April 21, 2010

Deaf children benefit from cochlear implants early

Deaf children who received a cochlear implants before they reached 18 months old saw a marked improvement in their ability to hear, speak and comprehend, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers found.

Cochlear implants are a small device that stimulates the auditory nerve to provide a sense of sound to adults and children with hearing loss.

The study, appearing today in the new issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed 188 children ages 6 months to 5 years, who had profound hearing loss for three years. Researchers found improvements in speech and language comprehension in children across the board, but those who received implants younger than 18 months had bigger improvements. These children nearly caught up with their normal-hearing peers and tended to reach milestones faster than those who got implants later.

In fact, each year that implants are delayed can put a child behind in language development, researchers concluded.

The results are significant because children who have severe hearing loss struggle to develop language skills, because they can't detect the cues needed to recognize speech -- even when they used hearing aids, the authors write. Cochlear implants may be a better alternative for children -- especially when started younger, they concluded.

LA Times photo


Posted by Kelly Brewington at 7:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Pediatrics
        

Comments

Baloney. Cochlear implants is an billion dollar industry that will manipulate everyone for them to make another billion dollars by implanting babies. It does NOT work. Sign language is the cure: it's painless and free for everyone.

Parents should leave the decision of whether to install this implant up to the child when they are old enough to decide. This device once installed can never be removed. Learning that you have a deaf child can be devastating to parents but it isn't the end of the world. The implant is another way that people and big business are trying to make deaf people conform in a hearing world.

Yet another scientific studt that puts the nail in the coffin for the idiots who bury their heads in the sand believing that their hands will lead them to salvation.

Delayed language is the curse of deafness. If that can be overcome quickly, society benefits from reduced costs of welfare (supplemental sociial security), increased taxes (ie increased employability) and less dependency on support services (interpreters) and many more.

As a deaf adult who received a cochlear
implant nine years ago, I can testify that the cochlear implant is the nearest thing to a miracle I've experienced. For profoundly deaf people like myself, it is far far better than a hearing aid. It is like using a car after having to walk everywhere. It is a bit expensive, but considering that the deaf kids can be educated in the mainstream along with normally hearing kids, the cost savings compared to having to educate kids in specialized schools for the deaf is pretty large. Moreover, cochlear implants foster personal independence, rather than a dependence on specialized services such as interpreters, relay operators, and so on, to function in the hearing world.
Having said that, cochlear implants don't work for everyone. They don't restore hearing completely, either. But for many people, they can be a big help.

The reason deaf people get angry is because implants work for less deaf people than they fail. Something around 20% hear and speak normally. While parents and doctors wait to see who will benefit the most, children experience language delays which could easily be prevented by teaching sign language to families.

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.
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