Pediatric cochlear implants: Additional disabilities prevalence, risk factors, and effect on language outcomes

Catherine S. Birman*, Elizabeth J. Elliott, William P R Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the prevalence of additional disabilities in a pediatric cochlear population, to identify medical and radiologic conditions associated with additional disabilities, and to identify the effect of additional disabilities on speech perception and language at 12 months postoperatively. Study Design: Retrospective case review. Setting: Tertiary referral center and cochlear implant program. Patients: Records were reviewed for children 0 to 16 years old inclusive, who had cochlear implant-related operations over a 12-month period. INTERVENTIONS: Diagnostic and rehabilitative. Main Outcome Measures: Additional disabilities prevalence; medical history and radiologic abnormalities; and the effect on Categories of Auditory Performance (CAP) score at 12 months postoperatively. Results: Eighty-eight children having 96 operations were identified. The overall prevalence of additional disabilities (including developmental delay, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, autism and attention deficit disorder) was 33%. The main conditions associated with additional disabilities were syndromes and chromosomal abnormalities (87%), jaundice (86%), prematurity (62%), cytomegalovirus (60%), and inner ear abnormalities including cochlea nerve hypoplasia or aplasia (75%) and semicircular canal anomalies (56%). At 12 months postoperatively, almost all (96%) of the children without additional disabilities had a CAP score of 5 or greater (speech), compared with 52% of children with additional disabilities. Children with developmental delay had a median CAP score of 4, at 12 months compared with 6 for those without developmental delay. Conclusion: Additional disabilities are prevalent in approximately a third of pediatric cochlear implant patients. Additional disabilities significantly affect the outcomes of cochlear implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1352
Number of pages6
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Additional disability
  • Cochlear implant
  • Language
  • Pediatric


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