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May 18, 2004

Hearing Implant Gets Better Results When Done Earlier

From: - USA - May 18, 2004

The earlier deaf children are given cochlear implants, the more likely they are to acquire language and communications skills similar to those of their hearing peers, new research finds.

Cochlear implants are small, surgically implanted electronic devices that allow many profoundly deaf people to hear. Typically implanted in one ear, the set of electrodes directly stimulate the auditory nerve and brain, bypassing parts of the ear the don't function properly.

Researchers at Indianapolis-based Communications Consulting Services followed 107 hearing impaired children ranging from 12 months to 36 months. Auditory evaluations found that the youngest children understood speech better than the older infants and toddlers, according to the study results published in the May edition of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

The devices are government approved for use in children 12 months and older, although some doctors have begun implanting them in even younger infants, the Associated Press reports.


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