The effectiveness of early cochlear implantation for infants and young children with hearing loss

Ali W, O'Connell R
Record ID 32007000571
Authors' objectives:

The aim of this technical brief was to asses the effectiveness of cochlear implantation at an early age when compared to implantation at a later age. Eligible studies were those that included some children less than 2 years of age at implantation, and studies where the mean or median age of the study population at cochlear implantation was less than 36 months. Studies all had sample sizes of at least 20 participants. They compared the effectiveness of cochlear implantation at a young age with implantation at an older age.

Authors' recommendations: The following conclusions are based on the current evidence available from this report's critical appraisal of literature published on the effectiveness of cochlear implants at a young age when compared to implantation at an older age for infants and young children. In general, implantation at a younger age improves the effectiveness of cochlear implantation in terms of audiological performance and communication outcomes. This is particularly evident when cochlear implantation occurs before the age of 24 months, which is more effective than implantation after 24 months It is not clear whether implantation prior to the age of 12 months improves effectiveness when compared to implantation after 12 months of age. Because of the short length of time that implantation has been used in large numbers of infants and young children less than 2 years of age, evidence of an increase in effectiveness is only available for immediate outcomes such as communication skills, and has only been observed up to about 5-8 years after implantation. It is not clear what effect cochlear implantation at a younger age has on long-term outcomes such as educational achievement, and quality of life. It is possible that those implanted at an older age (above 24 months) develop at a slower rate but eventually reach equivalent developmental milestones.
Authors' methods: Review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2007
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: New Zealand
MeSH Terms
  • Cochlear Implants
Organisation Name: New Zealand Health Technology Assessment
Contact Address: Department of Public Health and General Practice, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, P.O. Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand. Tel: +64 3 364 1145; Fax: +64 3 364 1152;
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Copyright: New Zealand Health Technology Assessment (NZHTA)
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