Cochlear Implants Boost Childrens’ Early Learning
Three months after receiving an implant, all children profiled could recognise sounds in their immediate environment. Social and family factors were also analysed in the study for a more in-depth result.
Children become used to the implant and know this is why they can hear, so they protest if the device is switched off.
After an implant, sounds made by the young children had more intensity and in later months children could produce syllables such as mamama.
Every child is different but first words were usually heard about six months after implants were activated. Just one child has completed the full study, and produced fifty different words in a final session, according to the team.
This information is encouraging as it shows that in just 12 months it is possible to achieve what hearing children would in 18 months.
So far eleven children have taken part in the project. Nine collections have been taken from each child. The first takes place just before implantation, whilst the others begin a month and a half after activation.
Future plans involve another study, which will provide data on the later development stages. The team aims to study the progress of grammar, lexis and phonology in children who have used implants for three to four years.
This will indicate how ready these children are to attend mainstream primary schools, as many do on a global basis.
(compiled by Miriam Walsh)