Effects of Central Nervous System Residua on Cochlear Implant Results in Children Deafened by Meningitis

Howard W. Francis, Margaret B. Pulsifer, Jill Chinnici, Robert Nutt, Holly S. Venick, Jennifer D. Yeagle, John K. Niparko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: This study explored factors associated with speech recognition outcomes in postmeningitic deafness (PMD). The results of cochlear implantation may vary in children with PMD because of sequelae that extend beyond the auditory periphery. Objective: To determine which factors might be most determinative of outcome of cochlear implantation in children with PMD. Design: Retrospective chart review. Setting: A referral center for pediatric cochlear implantation and rehabilitation. Subjects: Thirty children with cochlear implants who were deafened by meningitis were matched with subjects who were deafened by other causes based on the age at diagnosis, age at cochlear implantation, age at which hearing aids were first used, and method of communication used at home or in the classroom. Main Outcome Measure: Speech perception performance within the first 2 years after cochlear implantation and its relationship with presurgical cognitive measures and medical history. Results: There was no difference in the overall cognitive or postoperative speech perception performance between the children with PMD and those deafened by other causes. The presence of postmeningitic hydrocephalus, however, posed greater challenges to the rehabilitation process, as indicated by significantly smaller gains in speech perception and a predilection for behavioral problems. By comparison, cochlear scarring and incomplete electrode insertion had no impact on speech perception results. Conclusions: Although the results demonstrated no significant delay in cognitive or speech perception performance in the PMD group, central nervous system residua, when present, can impede the acquisition of speech perception with a cochlear implant. Central effects associated with PMD may thus impact language learning potential; cognitive and behavioral therapy should be considered in rehabilitative planning and in establishing expectations of outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-611
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Central Nervous System Residua on Cochlear Implant Results in Children Deafened by Meningitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this