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May 18, 2004

Earlier Treatment Advances Learning in Deaf

From: Ivanhoe - May 18, 2004

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Children born deaf often have delays in mastering the spoken language. But new research finds cochlear implants help in the development of language skills. Specifically the research finds the earlier the implants are done, the better the children speak.

Researchers in Greece conducted the study to assess the development of spoken language in deaf children after cochlear implantation and compared their abilities to normal-hearing children. The study included 82 deaf children who were younger than 7 at the time of cochlear implantation. The children were followed for five years.

Study authors say before implantation only 2 percent of the deaf children were above the spoken language level of normal-hearing children. However, three years after implantation this percentage increased to 40 percent, and five years after implantation 67 percent of the deaf children were above the level of normal-hearing children. Researchers say improvement was greatest in children who received an implant before age 4.

The study concludes cochlear implants help children in the development of grammar skills and the spoken language. Researchers say since children who received implants at a younger age made the greatest advance, they feel these findings support the present trend toward early implantation.

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SOURCE: Archives of Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery, 2004;130:629-633

Copyright © 2004 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.