Studies indicate that children with unilateral implantation may have delayed vocabulary development for long periods of time even after implantation. This Finnish study attempted to find out whether bilateral cochlear implantation was associated with earlier vocabulary development. The authors analysed development of early vocabulary during the first year after activation of bilateral implants along with factors which influenced the growth of the vocabulary.
The results of the study indicate that, despite clear vocabulary growth, children with bilateral cochlear implants did not develop vocabulary as early as hearing children with the same age norms. They lagged behind during the first 12 months after cochlear implant activation, probably due to severe to profound sensorineural hearing impairment pre-implantation.
Maternal education and residual hearing with amplification pre-implantation was observed to be associated with earlier development of vocabulary. The authors conclude that children fitted with bilateral cochlear implants should be provided with targeted and appropriate early intervention to prevent effects of delayed vocabulary. Their findings are relevant for all those involved in the field of cochlear implantation.