The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: Cochlear implantation on both sides of the age spectrum: in the very young and in the ageing population

Currently Active: 
Yes

Does and should age affect cochlear implant candidacy and outcomes?

Project Overview

At our Auditory Implant Centre children are typically implanted from the age of 12 months. There is emerging evidence to suggest that cochlear implantation is safe at a younger age in ‘well’ babies, i.e. those born at full gestational age and with no additional concerns. There is also some evidence to suggest that the outcomes for speech, language and academic progress may be better if implantation occurs before 12 months. There are however surgical and audiological factors that need to be considered. We are currently finalising a systematic review for publication, which synthesizes the high quality research evidence available to make recommendations for best practice. A future study will look at the outcomes of children implanted before and after 12 months of age.

On the other end of the spectrum is our ageing population. There is no age restriction on the age of implantation but it is important to consider and manage additional factors, which may influence outcomes, such as hand dexterity in using the technology, changes in cognitive processes as we age and the increased incidence of medical conditions such as dementia. We are currently securing funding for a PhD project to explore this topic further.

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science

Cochlear implantation has significantly changed the management options available to children born deaf.

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One fifth of our population in now above retirement age and we are expecting to see an increase in the number of cochlear implants in this age group.

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Staff

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