Research reported in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research shows that children who receive cochlear implants perceive an improved quality of life.

The paper, titled Quality of Life for Children with Cochlear Implants: Perceived Benefits and Problems and the Perception of Single Words and Emotional Sounds, is authored by ASHA members, Efrat A. Schorr and Froma P. Roth, with Nathan A. Fox, all of the University of Maryland, College Park.

The study examined responses to a quality of life questionnaire by 37 congenitally deaf children with cochlear implants. The results found the children, ages 5 to 14, reported significant improvement in quality of life due to their cochlear implants, and low levels of concern about typical problems associated with wearing an implant. Also, age at first use of amplification was predictive of better quality of life ratings.

"Our findings showed that overall, children are ‘satisfied consumers’ when it comes to cochlear implants," says first author Efrat A. Schorr. "They also indicate that the ability of children with implants to perceive the emotional tone of speech increases their satisfaction."

The study underscores the need for early detection and intervention (EHDI) for children with hearing loss—to ensure the best possible outcomes, says ASHA President Sue Hale, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University. "ASHA has been vigorously working over the last decade to expand EDHI programs through legislation at both the state and federal level," she says.

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 130,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists.