Prelingual auditory-perceptual skills as indicators of initial oral language development in deaf children with cochlear implants

Federica Pianesi, Alessandro Scorpecci, Sara Giannantonio, Mariella Micardi, Alessandra Resca, Pasquale Marsella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To assess when prelingually deaf children with a cochlear implant (CI) achieve the First Milestone of Oral Language, to study the progression of their prelingual auditory skills in the first year after CI and to investigate a possible correlation between such skills and the timing of initial oral language development. Methods: The sample included 44 prelingually deaf children (23 M and 21 F) from the same tertiary care institution, who received unilateral or bilateral cochlear implants. Achievement of the First Milestone of Oral Language (FMOL) was defined as speech comprehension of at least 50 words and speech production of a minimum of 10 words, as established by administration of a validated Italian test for the assessment of initial language competence in infants. Prelingual auditory-perceptual skills were assessed over time by means of a test battery consisting of: the Infant Toddler Meaningful Integration Scale (IT-MAIS); the Infant Listening Progress Profile (ILiP) and the Categories of Auditory Performance (CAP). Results: On average, the 44 children received their CI at 24 ± 9 months and experienced FMOL after 8 ± 4 months of continuous CI use. The IT-MAIS, ILiP and CAP scores increased significantly over time, the greatest improvement occurring between baseline and six months of CI use. On multivariate regression analysis, age at diagnosis and age at CI did not appear to bear correlation with FMOL timing; instead, the only variables contributing to its variance were IT-MAIS and ILiP scores after six months of CI use, accounting for 43% and 55%, respectively. Conclusion: Prelingual auditory skills of implanted children assessed via a test battery six months after CI treatment, can act as indicators of the timing of initial oral language development. Accordingly, the period from CI switch-on to six months can be considered as a window of opportunity for appropriate intervention in children failing to show the expected progression of their auditory skills and who would have higher risk of delayed oral language development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Auditory skills
  • Children
  • Cochlear implant
  • Deaf
  • Language development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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