Benjamin Kirby, Ph.D.
Unilateral cochlear implants are routinely provided to individuals who present with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Unilateral implantation is widely accepted as the standard of care by most insurance companies, though bilateral implantation has the potential to restore some of the advantages of binaural listening in these patients. The aim of this literature review is to discuss recent research concerning benefits of bilateral cochlear implantation relative to performance with a single implant in both the pediatric and adult populations. Electronic databases and reference lists were searched using a pre-determined search strategy and were reviewed for relevant information. This critical review focused on the following questions: 1) What are the benefits of bilateral cochlear implantation compared to unilateral CI or bimodal arrangements in the areas of speech perception in quiet and noise, sound localization, and expressive and receptive speech and language acquisition?; 2) What benefits, if any, are provided when simultaneous implantation is performed versus sequential implantation?; and 3) What impact does age at implantation have on the benefits seen with bilateral cochlear implantation in children? Throughout this review, mixed evidence of bilateral benefit was reported for various outcomes including speech perception in quiet and noise, sound localization, and speech and language acquisition. Both sequential and simultaneous implant subjects received bilateral benefit. Continued research regarding benefits observed with earlier age at implantation, the impact of hearing aid use in the non-implanted ear between sequential surgeries, and speech and language outcomes in bilaterally implanted children is necessary.
Meyer, Jennifer, "The Effectiveness of Bilateral Cochlear Implants in Adults and Children: a Critical Review" (2019). AuD Capstone Projects - Communication Sciences and Disorders. 16.