Additional disabilities are frequently encountered in children born with hearing loss or deafness. A study from Denmark attempted to systematically review to what extent hearing-impaired children with cognitive disabilities benefit from cochlear implantation. The authors conducted an extensive search in Pubmed, Cinahl, Embase, and The Cochrane Library for studies reporting cognitive disabilities in children receiving cochlear implants. From an initial number of 763 studies, 15 were finally analysed leaving a total number of analysed children at 18,149 (17,160 came from one study), while the age of cochlear implantation ranged from 10 months to seven years. By comparing implanted children with cognitive disabilities to implanted children without cognitive disabilities, the authors concluded that cognitively impaired children benefitted from implantation, but not to the same extent as the cognitively normal hearing-impaired children. The degree of cognitive impairment played a role, in the sense that children with mild cognitive disabilities benefitted significantly from cochlear implantation, while the outcome in severely impaired children was less certain. The authors further stressed the need for homogeneous test batteries for preoperative cognitive and postoperative outcome testing of CI children, including alternative outcome goals after cochlear implantation, such as an improved quality of life, in addition to the postoperative speech perception and speech intelligibility. 

Cognitive skills affect outcome of CI in children: a systematic review.
Udholm N, Jørgensen AW, Ovesen T.
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Petros Vlastarakos

Mitera Infirmary, Greece.

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