Newswise – Restoring Hearing Through Cochlear Implantation In Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) May Help Them Understand Spoken Language And Improve Social Interactions, Says Children’s Hospital Study Ann & Robert H. Lurie from Chicago. The study reported the long-term results of the largest number of children with ASD who received cochlear implants, with an average follow-up of 10.5 years. The results were published in the journal Otology & Neurotology.
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that cochlear implantation clearly benefits deaf children with autism spectrum disorders,” said senior author Nancy Young, MD, medical director of the Audiology and Autism Programs. cochlear implant at Lurie Children’s and professor of pediatric otolaryngology at Northwestern. Feinberg University Faculty of Medicine. “Better hearing provides access to spoken language that can improve their cognitive and communication potential, as well as help these children engage more with their families.”
The majority (73%) of the children in the study consistently used their cochlear implant throughout the day, 45% of whom developed some understanding of spoken words with hearing alone (no visual cues). Forty-five percent also used the spoken language to some extent as part of their overall communication. Eighty-six percent were reported by parents to have improved their social engagement after implantation. Responding to a survey, one parent said, “Without his implant he was stuck in his own little world, no sound, no eye contact with others. The implant made us discover his personality.
According to recent estimates, one in 88 children in the United States suffers from ASD, a complex developmental disorder characterized by impaired communication and social interactions. Twenty-five to 30 percent of normal hearing children with ASD do not develop spoken language as a means of communication. Therefore, children with ASD in combination with profound hearing loss have two conditions that can limit the development of spoken language. Not surprisingly, the children in this study generally developed the understanding and use of spoken language more slowly than the implanted children without ASD.
It has been reported that children with ASD have a higher prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) than children without ASD. Conversely, it has been reported that children with SNHL have a higher rate of ASD than those with normal hearing. Dr. Young noted that “the relationship between these two diagnoses for some of these children may be due to congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), an infection that begins in the developing fetus and is often unrecognized after birth. This can lead to hearing loss and is associated with an increased incidence of ASD.
Most of the children in the study were diagnosed with ASD after cochlear implantation. The post-implantation diagnosis is likely related to the young age at which most received their implant and an increased difficulty in diagnosing ASD when significant hearing loss is present.
“Understanding the range of outcomes in this population is important in counseling parents and educators to ensure these children receive appropriate support and services,” said Beth Tournis, AuD, audiologist at Lurie Children’s and co-author of the study.
Lurie’s cochlear implant program for children is one of the largest and most experienced in the world.
Research at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago is being conducted by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving the health of children, transforming pediatric medicine, and securing a healthier future through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the country by American News and World Report. It is the pediatric training ground of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 220,000 children in 48 states and 49 countries.