Bilateral Cochlear Implantation

Bilateral cochlear implantation is implantation on both sides, or the use of two cochlear implants. The advantages of hearing implants for the development of children with hearing loss have been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies.1,2,3 These studies show that some children receive unique benefits from bilateral cochlear implantation which may help them to develop listening skills, such as sound localisation, during the critical period of language acquisition.

Many parents report that after receiving a second implant, their children are better able to concentrate in school. Still others report that their children are better able to localise sound, i.e. identify from where a sound originates. Clinical study results support these conclusions. For example, communication behavior was shown to improve among children who received a second implant. These children demonstrated better understanding of spoken words, and significantly better understanding of speech in noise when using both implants.4 Additionally, bilaterally implanted children have demonstrated better listening skills in challenging listening situations.5

More about bilateral cochlear implantation is available on this website. Additionally, MED-EL has produced a brochure outlining the advantages of bilateral cochlear implantation.

  1. Sharma, A., Dorman, M. F., Kral, A. (2005). The influence of a sensitivity period on central auditory development in children with unilateral and bilateral cochlear implants. Hearing Research, 203, 134-143.
  2. Sharma, A., Gilley, P., Martin, K., Roland, P., Bauer, P., Dorman, M. (2007). Simultaneous versus sequential bilateral implantation in young children: Effects on central auditory system development and plasticity. Audiological Medicine, 5(4), 218-223.
  3. Sharma, A., and Dorman, M. (2006). Central Auditory Development in Children with Cochlear Implants: Clinical Implications. Advances in Otorhinolaryngology. Vol 64. Basel: Karger pp 66-88.
  4. Kühn-Inacker, H., Shehata-Dieler, W., Müller, J., Helms, J. (2004). Bilateral cochlear implants: a way to optimize auditory perception abilities in deaf children? International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 68, 1257-1266.
  5. Litovsky, R., Johnstone, P., Godar, S., Agrawal, S., Parkinson, A., Peters, R., Lake, J. (2006). Bilateral cochlear implants in children: Localisation acuity measured with minimum audible angle. Ear and Hearing, 27, 43-59.

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