Objective: This study aims to assess the usefulness of the LittlEARS(®) Auditory Questionnaire (LEAQ) in determining the audiological development of Turkish children who have received a cochlear implant.
Methods: 20 children received a cochlear implant before their 3rd birthday. Each child's progress was evaluated with the LittlEARS(®) Auditory Questionnaire at first device fitting and then at 3-month intervals for 2 years. Scores were compared with the age-related norms established by hearing children.
Results: All children showed a significant increase in LittlEARS(®) Auditory Questionnaire scores over time. Nearly all children showed a growth in auditory skills similar to that of hearing children. Children without additional needs showed more development than did children with additional needs.
Conclusions: The LittlEARS(®) Auditory Questionnaire is useful for monitoring the audiological development of young children with a cochlear implant. Confirmation that a cochlear implant user is achieving typical auditory milestones serves to boost parental morale during a child's pre-verbal stage when parents may be anxious about their child's ability to talk. The questionnaire could also be useful as an early warning system. Poor scores likely indicate that something is impeding the child's development. This should prompt professionals to try to identify the impediment, whether technical, medical, social or educational and, possibly, eliminate/mitigate its effects while the child is still in his/her critical development stages.
Keywords: Additional needs; Auditory development; Children; Cochlear implants; Hearing loss; LittlEARS(®) Auditory Questionnaire.
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