Objective: To explore parent perceptions of communication and academic experiences of cochlear implant (CI) recipients under the age of 18.
Design: Cross-sectional survey design. Two surveys (K-12, birth-5) queried parent perceptions of the impact of CI on communication, listening in various environments and academic achievement. Surveys contained 16-23 multiple choice and/or Likert ratings, plus four open-ended questions to assess reasons for obtaining a CI, satisfaction with CI and suggestions for professionals.
Study sample: Surveys were sent to 156 parents of CI recipients; 81 surveys returned; response rate 52%.
Results: According to parent report, 95% of K-12 children and 100% of preschool children used spoken language as their primary mode of communication; majority of K-12 children performed same as or better than peers across academic subjects; 99% of respondents were pleased with their decision to obtain a CI. The most important reasons reported for choosing CIs were for their child to use the same language as their families and to effectively communicate in hearing society. Satisfaction with CI was better in quiet than in noise. Respondents stressed the importance of audiologists having excellent skills in CI management and programming.
Conclusions: Respondents were positive about the benefits of obtaining CI for their child.
Keywords: Cochlear implant; demographics/epidemiology; pediatric; speech perception.