Comparisons of IQ in children with and without cochlear implants: Longitudinal findings and associations with language

CDaCI Investigative Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To make longitudinal comparisons of intelligence quotient (IQ) in children with cochlear implants (CIs) and typical hearing peers from early in development to the school-age period. Children with additional comorbidities and CIs were also evaluated. To estimate the impact of socioeconomic status and oral language on school-age cognitive performance. Design: This longitudinal study evaluated nonverbal IQ in a multicenter, national sample of 147 children with CIs and 75 typically hearing peers. IQ was evaluated at baseline, prior to cochlear implantation, using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and the Leiter International Performance Scale. School-age IQ was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children. For the current study, only the Perceptual Reasoning and Processing Speed indices were administered. Oral language was evaluated using the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language. Results: Children in the CI group scored within the normal range of intelligence at both time points. However, children with additional comorbidities scored significantly worse on the Processing Speed, but not the Perceptual Reasoning Index. Maternal education and language were significantly related to school-age IQ in both groups. Importantly, language was the strongest predictor of intellectual functioning in both children with CIs and normal hearing. Conclusion: These results suggest that children using cochlear implants perform similarly to hearing peers on measures of intelligence, but those with severe comorbidities are at-risk for cognitive deficits. Despite the strong link between socioeconomic status and intelligence, this association was no longer significant once spoken language performance was accounted for. These results reveal the important contributions that early intervention programs, which emphasize language and parent training, contribute to cognitive functioning in school-age children with CIs. For families from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, who are at-risk for suboptimal outcomes, these early intervention programs are critical to improve overall functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1198
Number of pages12
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018


  • Cochlear implants
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Hearing loss
  • Intelligence quotient
  • Language development
  • Perceptual reasoning
  • Processing speed
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Spoken language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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