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Language development in deaf children two years after cochlea implantation - results in the German
language development test battery for two year old children (SETK-2)
Kral K. , Streicher B. , Lang-Roth R.
ENT University Hospital Cologne, Cochlear Implant Center Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Intro: The aim of early cochlea implantation is a normal speech development. It depends on different factors at
what age children achieve an age appropriate speech development. Literature indicates that in the first years
after implantation hearing age is equivalent to the speech development. Therefore it is concluded that
implantation before the second birthday is recommend in bilateral deaf children (1, 4).
Methods: Test measurement with the SETK-2 (3) took place 2 years after cochlea implantation. The SETK-2
consists of 2 tests for receptive language (words / sentences) and 2 tests for expressive language (words/
sentences) (3). Data of 60 children were analyzed (33= male, 27= female) with hearing age 24 months (Min: 10,
Max: 28). Age of the children lay between 28 and 80 months (Median: 45,5 months). 50 % of the cohort were
implanted before their second birthday and in total 81,7 % were implanted before their third birthday. At the time
of the test measurement 48,3 % of the children were implanted bilaterally. For analysis nonparametric tests and
descriptive statistics with the SPSS Version 21 were used.
Results: Most of the children showed hearing age appropriate results in the test. The median of the normal
curve equivalent in the four subtests were: 61 (comprehension: words), 54 (comprehension: sentences), 49
(production: words) and 46 (production: sentences). Some children's results were below their hearing age (word
comprehension: 13,3 %; comprehension of sentences: 14,3 %; word production: 28,3 %; production of
sentences 33,3,%). 6,7 % of the cohort demonstrate results above the average (compared to their hearing age)
in all 4 subtests. In a subgroup of children who grow up monolingual (German) (n=38) 11,1 % showed results
above the average in all 4 subtests. In this subgroup less children showed results below average (word
comprehension: 2,8 %; comprehension of sentences: 8,8 %; word production: 13,9 %; production of sentences
Discussion: In this cohort most children demonstrate a hearing age appropriate speech development 2 years
after cochlea implantation. We could find a significant correlation between all subtests and the age at the first
mapping of the CI. That an early cochlea implantation leads more often to an age appropriate language is
showed in different studies (2).
1. Ganek, H., Robbins, A. M.. Language Outcomes after Cochlear Implantation. Otolaryngol Clin N Am 45
(2012), 173-185.
2. Geers, A. E., Nicholas, J. G.. Enduring advantages of early cochlear implantation for spoken language
development. J Speech Lang Hear Res 56 (2013), 643-655.
3. Grimm, H., Aktas, M., Frevert, S.. Sprachentwicklungstest für zweijährige Kinder (SETK-2). Diagnose
rezeptiver und produktiver Sprachverarbeitungsfähigkeiten. Manual. Hogrefe-Verlag, Göttingen. 2000.
4. Svirsky, M., Robbins, A. M., Kirk, K. I., et al.. Language development in profoundly deaf children with cochlear
implants. Psychol Sci (2000); 11 (2), 153-158.