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Objectives: The aims of this study were to ( a ) compare language outcomes in pediatric cochlear implant users enrolled in three different communication programs: sign and spoken language, auditory–oral, and auditory–verbal therapy, and ( b ) examine factors influencing language outcomes. Methods: Post-implant standard scores on language assessments of receptive vocabulary, auditory comprehension, and expressive communication were collected from files of 42 children with prelingual hearing loss who were implanted by 3;6 years of age. Early intervention history, device details, and demographic information were obtained for each child. Family involvement was evaluated using a rating scale. Results: After adjusting for potential covariates, there were no significant differences in language outcomes across the three groups. Overall, there was a large degree of variability with some children achieving below average scores and others achieving above average scores. Age at diagnosis of hearing loss and family involvement were significantly associated with language outcomes. Conclusion: Regardless of the type of communication approach received, children diagnosed with hearing loss at an early age and children with a high level of family involvement had better post-implant language scores than children diagnosed later and with lower levels of family involvement. These findings emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and highlight the contribution families make to the language outcomes of children with cochlear implants.

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Journal Article

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