Influence of implantation age on school-age language performance in pediatric cochlear implant users

Emily A. Tobey, Donna Thal, John K. Niparko, Laurie S. Eisenberg, Alexandra L. Quittner, Nae Yuh Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined specific spoken language abilities of 160 children with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss followed prospectively 4, 5, or 6 years after cochlear implantation. Study sample: Ninety-eight children received implants before 2.5 years, and 62 children received implants between 2.5 and 5 years of age. Design: Language was assessed using four subtests of the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL). Standard scores were evaluated by contrasting age of implantation and follow-up test time. Results: Children implanted under 2.5 years of age achieved higher standard scores than children with older ages of implantation for expressive vocabulary, expressive syntax, and pragmatic judgments. However, in both groups, some children performed more than two standard deviations below the standardization group mean, while some scored at or well above the mean. Conclusions: Younger ages of implantation are associated with higher levels of performance, while later ages of implantation are associated with higher probabilities of continued language delays, particularly within subdomains of grammar and pragmatics. Longitudinal data from this cohort study demonstrate that after 6 years of implant experience, there is large variability in language outcomes associated with modifiers of rates of language learning that differ as children with implants age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Cochlear implants
  • Comprehension
  • Language
  • Pediatrics
  • Pragmatics
  • Syntax
  • Vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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