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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2010;28(2):207-18. doi: 10.3233/RNN-2010-0525.

The influence of a sensitive period for auditory-visual integration in children with cochlear implants.

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  • 1Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0409, USA. phillip.gilley@colorado.edu



Children who experience long periods of auditory deprivation are susceptible to large-scale reorganization of auditory cortical areas responsible for the perception of speech and language. One consequence of this reorganization is that integration of combined auditory and visual information may be altered after hearing is restored with a cochlear implant. Our goal was to investigate the effects of reorganization in a task that examines performance during multisensory integration.


Reaction times to the detection of basic auditory (A), visual (V), and combined auditory-visual (AV) stimuli were examined in a group of normally hearing children, and in two groups of cochlear implanted children: (1) early implanted children in whom cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) fell within normal developmental limits, and (2) late implanted children in whom CAEPs were outside of normal developmental limits. Miller's test of the race model inequality was performed for each group in order to examine the effects of auditory deprivation on multisensory integration abilities after implantation.


Results revealed a significant violation of the race model inequality in the normally hearing and early implanted children, but not in the group of late implanted children.


These results suggest that coactivation to multi-modal sensory input cannot explain the decreased reaction times to multi-modal input in late implanted children. These results are discussed in regards to current models for coactivation to redundant sensory information.

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