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Children with cochlear implants appear to achieve similar educational and
employment levels as peers
Deaf children who receive cochlear implants appear more likely to fail early
grades in school, but they ultimately achieve educational and employment
levels similar to their normal-hearing peers, according to a report in the
April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
"For profoundly deaf http://www.physorg.com/tags/deaf+children/> children,
cochlear implantation with rehabilitation is the recommended treatment to
provide auditory function and facilitate proficiency in oral communication,"
the authors write as background information in the article. "In an ideal
situation, cochlear implantation should also allow recipients to integrate
into the hearing world and improve their quality of life; however, these
outcomes can be difficult to measure."
Investigating educational and employment status is one way of assessing
quality of life, the authors note. Frederic Venail, M.D., Ph.D., of Centre
Hospitalier Universitaire Gui de Chauliac, France, and colleagues
interviewed the parents of 100 children who were deaf before they began to
speak, received cochlear implants
least four years of follow-up (average follow-up, 10.6 years). Of the 74
patients without additional disabilities, 24 were age 8 to 11, 24 were age
12 to 15, 18 were age 16 to 18 and eight were older than 18 years.
Most children who did not have additional disabilities received mainstream
schooling (67 percent to 83 percent of the 74 children, depending on the age
group). Nineteen or 26 percent experienced delays in acquiring reading and
writing skills, 39 (53 percent) experienced grade failures and, compared
with the age-matched general French population, they experienced a mild
delay in educational placement.
"The number of grade failures was associated with communication mode at the
time of the survey," the authors write, with those communicating orally
having fewer failures than those who used sign language or a combination of
the two. "Age at implantation, preoperative communication mode and
educational support influenced the final communication mode."
In the group of eight participants older than 18, five had a high school
diploma (62 percent, vs. 53 percent of the general population), three had
pursued vocational training, four had a university-level education and one
was employed with a
Among the participants with other disabilities, level of academic
achievement and employment status varied. "Mainstreaming is not always
possible, and specialized schools are often used," the authors write. "For
these cochlear implant recipients, vocational education may provide a
valuable alternative, and most still benefit from cochlear implants."
"Prelingually deaf children without additional disabilities achieve
satisfactory educational and employment successes after cochlear
implantation, especially if the cochlear implant allows for the use of oral
communication," the authors conclude. "If delays in writing and reading
skills and grade failures are commonly observed, perhaps as a consequence of
the auditory deprivation before cochlear implantation, early cochlear
implantation should reduce these delays, and further studies are required to
address this point."
More information: Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;136:366-372