Scientific publications

Non-verbal development of children with deafness with and without cochlear implants

Sep 1, 2004 | Magazine: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Schlumberger E, Narbona J, Manrique M.


Deprivation of sensory input affects neurological development. Our objective was to explore clinically the role of hearing in development of sensorimotor integration and non-verbal cognition. The study involved 54 children (15 males, 839 females; 5 to 9 years old) with severe or profound bilateral prelocutive deafness but without neurological or cognitive impairment. Of these, 25 had received an early cochlear implant (CIm). Patients were compared with 40 children with normal hearing.

All were given a battery of non-verbal neuropsychological tests and a balance test, and were timed for simple and complex movement of limbs. Deafness, whether treated by CIm or not, resulted in a delay in development of complex motor sequences and balance. Lack of auditory input was also associated with lower, but non-pathological, scores in visual gnoso-praxic tasks and sustained attention. Such differences were not observed in children with CIm.

Hearing contributes to clinical development of spatial integration, motor control, and attention. An early CIm enables good verbal development and might also improve non-verbal capacities.

CITATION  Dev Med Child Neurol. 2004 Sep;46(9):599-606