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Am Ann Deaf. 2010 Summer;155(3):339-52.

Pediatric cochlear implantation: a qualitative study of parental decision-making processes in Flanders, Belgium.

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Department of Medical Sociology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.


Factors contributing to parents' decision when they choose between cochlear implantation (CI) and traditional hearing aids for their child were examined. The subjects were children with severe/profound hearing loss, born 1999-2001, registered in the universal neonatal hearing screening program in the Flanders region of Belgium. Qualitative data collected retrospectively from parents were subjected to thematic content analysis. In their responses to professional advice, parents were segmented into 3 groups: (a) those whose primary considerations were the importance of oral language development and the relative potential of CI and traditional hearing aids; (b) those for whom alternative factors (e.g., medical risks, ethical issues) were paramount, even in the face of professional advocacy of CI; (c) those who followed professional advice against CI. The researchers conclude that care professionals should be sensitive to the impact of their advice and other factors in parental decision making.

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