ARO MidWinter Meeting edition:33 location:Anaheim, California, USA date:6-10 february 2010
Early cochlear implantation (CI) in profoundly deaf children has allowed them to develop auditory and language skills much closer to those of hearing peers than previously possible. Despite the impressive skills achieved by numerous children with CI’s, variability in performance remains a significant concern. The purpose of this study was to determine predictors of language and auditory outcomes two years after implantation. Clinical data of six tests regarding language and hearing development in children up to seven years of age were included in this retrospective study. Participants were a large sample (N=125) of Dutch and Flemish children who received their implant before the age of five (M=02;00y, SD=00;11y). The results of two standardized language tests, the Reynell Development Language Scales (RDLS) and Schlichting Expressive Language Test (SELT), were analyzed. In addition, the verbal skills were evaluated by filling out
two questionnaires; the Meaningful Use of Speech Scale (MUSS) and the Speech Intelligibility Rating (SIR). Finally, the Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale (MAIS) and the Categories of Auditory Performance (CAP) were used to evaluate the auditory skills. The collected data exists of 123 scores on the RDLS, 115 scores on the SELT, 82 completed MAIS and 79 completed MUSS questionnaires. The SIR was filled out for 39 children and the CAP for 43 children. Although age at implantation is a significant predictor (p<0.05) of language test scores, a lot of variability (±90%) remains unexplained.
This finding led to the inventory of five additional factors as possible causes of this variability; (1) the presence of other disabilities, (2) the etiology of deafness, (3) the age at diagnosis, (4) multilingualism and (5) whether the child is uni- or bilaterally implanted. Combining this information in a multiple regression model might clear out the contribution of each individual factor and possible interactions with regard to the overall variability.