Use of EARS: an auditory perception test battery for children receiving a cochlear implant

Datum: 4 november 2013

Locatie: University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken - Building Q - Promotiezaal - Universiteitsplein 1 - 2610 Wilrijk (Antwerpen)

Tijdstip: 17 uur

Organisatie / co-organisatie: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Promovendus: Ilona Anderson

Promotor: Prof. P. Van de Heyning, Prof. M. De Bodt

Korte beschrijving: PhD defence Ilona Anderson - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Abstract: Providing an individual who has a hearing loss with a cochlear implant has to be one of the major advances in medical technology in the last half century. Severe-to-profound hearing loss in children has far-reaching effects on their communication and educational opportunities. Cochlear implants restore hearing by by-passing the non-functional Organ of Corti and stimulating the auditory nerve fibres within the auditory system. Although the development of cochlear implants began much earlier, the era of cochlear implants in children began in the 1980s with the House-3M single-channel implant. In 1985, early studies began in adolescents and in children and implantation in toddlers less than two years of age began in the mid-1990s.

Cochlear implants have helped restore hearing in over 100,000 children worldwide. Expectations for outcomes have grown due to increased surgical experience, early diagnosis and intervention, and advances in device technology. Earlier, expectations were for, closed-set speech understanding for children with a prelingual hearing loss. Nowadays, we expect more from children who receive a cochlear implant: open-set speech understanding, oral language development, literacy, use of the telephone, music appreciation, and mainstream education.

Evaluation of auditory responses to speech (EARS) was a test battery developed for assessing auditory perception outcomes in young children – the expected outcome for children at the time.

This dissertation reviewed auditory performance of children, using the EARS Test Battery. Results are shown for gender, aetiology and age at cochlear implantation effects. Results over time are shown for each subtest, based on age at implantation. The EARS test battery way further developed based on a SWOT analysis. As a result, the Common Objects Token Test was modified and included in EARS. To manage cognitive and maturational issues, the LittlEARS test battery and TeenEARS were developed; TeenEARS is reported on. The EARS study database can be mined for specific sub analyses, and three studies are provided: outcomes for children implanted younger than three years; children who receive a short electrode array, and long-term follow-up.

In summary, EARS is used worldwide as successful measure of auditory perception performance over time and a useful tool for establishing habilitation goals.