Cochlear implantation is rapidly gaining acceptance as the most effective treatment for adult patients with unilateral deafness. The benefits for the pediatric population remain to be investigated. This study aimed to investigate the implications of cochlear implantation in children
with congenital and noncongenital unilateral deafness.
, three with congenital and one with a sudden unilateral deafness, were studied after implantation. The children
were aged 17 months, 4.5 years, 6.8 years, and 9 years at the time of implantation. Speech perception in noise and sound localization ability were evaluated using age-appropriate materials.
The child with postlingual unilateral deafness rapidly integrated the normal acoustic hearing with the electrical signal from the cochlear implant
and showed binaural benefits, as indicated by the localization ability and the improvement of speech perception in noise scores. The younger child with congenital unilateral deafness
showed some clinical evidence of binaural integration and the two older children
with congenital deafness have not yet indicated signs of binaural benefits.
It seems that cochlear implantation in children
with congenital unilateral deafness
may provide some of the benefits of binaural hearing if implantation occurs within the critical period for bilateral auditory development.