Clinicians and investigators use multiple outcome measures after early cochlear implantation (CI) to assess auditory skills, speech, and language effects. Are certain outcome measures better associated with optimal childhood development from the perspective of parents? We studied the association between several commonly used outcome instruments and a measure of parental perceptions of development to gain insight into how our clinical tests reflect parental perceptions of a child's developmental status.
Six academic centers.
One hundred eighty-eight deaf children (<6 yr) 1 year after CI activation enrolled in the longitudinal Childhood Development after CI study.
Main Outcome Measures:
Measures of auditory skills, speech, and language. Parental perceptions of development quantified with a visual analogue scale (visual analogue scale-development).
Nonparametric and parametric regression methods were used to model the relationship between outcome measures and visual analogue scale-development scores.
All outcome measures were positively associated with parental perceptions of development, but more robust associations were observed with language measures and a parent-report scale of auditory skills than with a selected measure of closed-set speech. For speech and language data, differences were observed in the trajectories of associations among younger (2-3 yr) versus older (4-5 yr) children.
Our results demonstrate the importance of measuring multiple outcome measures after early pediatric CI. The degree to which an outcome measure reflects childhood development as perceived by parents may be affected by the child's age. Measures that are based on parental report and broader outcome measures focused on verbal language offer the potential for a fuller understanding of the true effectiveness of early implantation.