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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053852. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

Categories of auditory performance and speech intelligibility ratings of early-implanted children without speech training.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.



To assess whether speech therapy can lead to better results for early cochlear implantation (CI) children.


A cohort of thirty-four congenitally profoundly deaf children who underwent CI before the age of 18 months at the Sixth Hospital affiliated with Shanghai Jiaotong University from January 2005 to July 2008 were included. Nineteen children received speech therapy in rehabilitation centers (ST), whereas the remaining fifteen cases did not (NST), but were exposed to the real world, as are normal hearing children.


All children were assessed before surgery and at 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery with the Categories of Auditory Performance test (CAP) and the Speech Intelligibility Rating (SIR). Each assessment was given by the same therapist who was blind to the situation of the child at each observation interval. CAP and SIR scores of the groups were compared at each time point.


Our study showed that the auditory performance and speech intelligibility of trained children were almost the same as to those of untrained children with early implantation. The CAP and SIR scores of both groups increased with increased time of implant use during the follow-up period, and at each time point, the median scores of the two groups were about equal.


These results indicate that great communication benefits are achieved by early implantation (<18 months) without routine speech therapy. The results exemplify the importance of enhanced social environments provided by everyday life experience for human brain development and reassure parents considering cochlear implants where speech training is unavailable.

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