Disproportionate Language Impairment in Children Using Cochlear Implants

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To examine the nature of previously unexplained, severe language impairments in some children using a cochlear implant (CI).


Six prelingually deaf children with unexplained, “disproportionate” language problems (DLI group) were matched to Control children on etiology, age at implantation, and CI experience. All children completed a test battery used to identify specific language impairment in normally hearing children.


Despite equivalent performance IQ, significant differences were found between the DLI and Control children on all five language tests.


Language difficulties experienced by some children using a CI seem to be additional to those produced by their deafness and may reflect the same, predominantly inherited basis as specific language impairment.

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