To assess a group of children who consecutively received implants more than 10 years after implantation with regard to speech perception, speech intelligibility, receptive language level, and academic/occupational status.
A prospective longitudinal study.
Pediatric referral center for cochlear implantation.
Eighty-two prelingually deafened children received the Nucleus multichannel cochlear implant.
Cochlear implantation with Cochlear Nucleus CI22 implant.
Main Outcome Measures:
The main outcome measures were open-set Phonetically Balanced Kindergarten word test, discrimination of sentences in noise, connective discourse tracking (CDT) using voice and telephone, speech intelligibility rating (SIR), vocabulary knowledge measured using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Revised), academic performance on French language, foreign language, and mathematics, and academic/occupational status.
After 10 years of implant experience, 79 children (96%) reported that they always wear the device; 79% (65 of 82 children) could use the telephone. The mean scores were 72% for the Phonetically Balanced Kindergarten word test, 44% for word recognition in noise, 55.3 words per minute for the CDT, and 33 words per minute for the CDT via telephone. Thirty-three children (40%) developed speech intelligible to the average listener (SIR 5), and 22 (27%) developed speech intelligible to a listener with little experience of deaf person's speech (SIR 4). The measures of vocabulary showed that most (76%) of children who received implants scored below the median value of their normally hearing peers. The age at implantation was the most important factor that may influence the postimplant outcomes. Regarding educational/vocational status, 6 subjects attend universities, 3 already have a professional activity, 14 are currently at high school level, 32 are at junior high school level, 6 additional children are enrolled in a special unit for children with disability, and 3 children are still attending elementary schools. Seventeen are in further noncompulsory education studying a range of subjects at vocational level.
This long-term report shows that many profoundly hearing-impaired children using cochlear implants can develop functional levels of speech perception and production, attain age-appropriate oral language, develop competency level in a language other than their primary language, and achieve satisfactory academic performance.