Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wisconsin Study Shows Benefits of Bilateral Cochlear Implants

The study, released February 13th, made two important points:


Although variability existed among the children, the study indicates that most did develop the ability to locate speech and other sounds more accurately when using two cochlear implants versus one. This capability also increased with experience.

"We're now seeing that the ability to localize sounds takes time to emerge," says Litovsky. "What seems to get better is the integration of the information from the two ears in the brain."


Another crucial question is whether children should receive both implants simultaneously, at the same time, or sequentially, at different times, she says. The study's results have implications here, as well.

"The children we're looking at received their implants sequentially," says Litovsky, "and we think that their brains took a very long time to combine the inputs from the two ears." Yet, the fact they learned to do so points to the brain's adaptability, or "plasticity," she adds. "It reveals that the brain is still open to input from an ear that was deaf for a very long time."

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