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Purpose The aims of this study were to (a) determine a metric for describing full-time use (FTU), (b) establish whether age at FTU in children with cochlear implants (CIs) predicts language at 3 years of age better than age at surgery, and (c) describe the extent of FTU and length of time it took to establish FTU in this population. Method This retrospective analysis examined receptive and expressive language outcomes at 3 years of age for 40 children with CIs. Multiple linear regression analyses were run with age at surgery and age at FTU as predictor variables. FTU definitions included 8 hr of device use and 80% of average waking hours for a typically developing child. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the establishment and degree of FTU. Results Although 8 hr of daily wear is typically considered FTU in the literature, the 80% hearing hours percentage metric accounts for more variability in outcomes. For both receptive and expressive language, age at FTU was found to be a better predictor of outcomes than age at surgery. It took an average of 17 months for children in this cohort to establish FTU, and only 52.5% reached this milestone by the time they were 3 years old. Conclusions Children with normal hearing can access spoken language whenever they are awake, and the amount of time young children are awake increases with age. A metric that incorporates the percentage of time that children with CIs have access to sound as compared to their same-aged peers with normal hearing accounts for more variability in outcomes than using an arbitrary number of hours. Although early FTU is not possible without surgery occurring at a young age, device placement does not guarantee use and does not predict language outcomes as well as age at FTU.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: American journal of audiology
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