COCHLEAR implantation, which involves placing am electronic device into the
inner ear, can be safely dome in hearing-impaired children before their first
birthday and leads to age-appropriate hearing ability and oral language skills,
a report suggests. Initial reports of children receiving cochlear implants
before 18 months of age have suggested that early implantation is of benefit,
authors Dr Susan B. Waltzman and Dr J. Thomas Roland Jr report.
Surgeons considering even earlier implantation face operative challenges such
as reduced scalp and skull thickness. However, advances in objective testing
methods to assess hearing suggest that the surgery may be feasible.
To evaluate the safety and benefits of this procedure, the researchers
followed 18 children with severe to profound hearing loss who underwent cochlear
implantation at ages six to 11 months. There were no immediate surgical
complications and marked improvements in hearing were noted a few months after
the operation and continued to accrue over time.