Determining early speech development in children with cochlear implants using the ELFRA-2 parental questionnaire.
Increased early identification of hearing loss has led to infants younger than 24 months of age being implanted with cochlear implants. The objective of this study was to assess early speech development in children implanted with a cochlear implant before 24 months of age using the German questionnaire Elternfragebogen für Risikokinder 2 (ELFRA-2), and to compare these results to normative data of the ELFRA-2 in order to determine any performance differences. Two groups of children were included in this study. The first group included 6 children with a mean age at implantation of 11 months (range: 8-14 months). These children were tested by their parents or caretakers with the ELFRA-2 at the chronological age of 24 months. The second group included 9 children with a mean age at implantation of 13 months (range: 6-20 months) who were tested with the ELFRA-2 after 24 months of cochlear implant use. Comparison analyses of children tested with the ELFRA-2 demonstrated a statistically significant difference in all ELFRA-2 scales between children with cochlear implants (CIs) at the chronological age of 24 months and the norm group (productive vocabulary: p=0.002; syntax: p=0.003; and morphology: p<0.001), and no significant difference between children with CIs at 24 months of device use and the norm group in all scales (productive vocabulary: p=0.335; syntax: p=0.965; and morphology: p=0.304). Children implanted before 24 months of age reach a speech production level after 24 months of device use that is comparable to that of their normal hearing peers. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.