Which Language-Learning Environment is the Most Advantageous for Deaf Children with Cochlear Implants?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Lynn De La Fosse
Submitted: November 2018

The use of paediatric cochlear implants has increased significantly over the last decade. The outcomes of deaf children with cochlear implants tend to surpass the outcomes of non-implanted deaf peers; however, they remain highly variable, and may be influenced by a number of different factors. One factor is the language-learning environment children are exposed to post-implantation. The evidence into which environment is most advantageous for children’s outcomes is mixed, with different studies recommending either spoken language-only, bimodal bilingual, or simultaneous communication models. In this essay, recent research comparing the outcomes of children from different language-learning environments is presented and discussed. There is strong evidence that bimodal bilingualism has a number of advantages for linguistic, cognitive, and social-emotional outcomes. However, there are significant barriers to its development in all children. This essay concludes that use of simultaneous communication in schools and at home is a viable alternative, but that further research within the UK context is needed. The wider implications of this approach are discussed.

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