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Health-related quality of life and associated developmental domains of children provided early with cochlear implants.

OBJECTIVES: Quality of life plays an important place in the psychosocial development of children with Cochlear Implants (CI). We assesd health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children with CI and in hearing children and determined relationships between HRQoL and other developmental characteristics (social-emotional development, Theory of Mind (ToM), spoken language skills).

METHODS: A longitudinal study was conducted including children with CI and hearing children. We used instruments that are widely employed and have been validated for research. At time 1 social-emotional development, ToM and spoken language skills were assessed.HRQoL was assessed using the generic KINDL questionnaire, as was social-emotional development, 2.5 years later (time 2).

RESULTS: No significant difference was seen in HRQoL between hearing children and children with CI. We show that the age of detection, the age of hearing care, and the start of early intervention are not related to HRQoL of children with CI, but relationships with some domains of social-emotional development are evident.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the importance of targeted intervention not only to improve spoken language skills at preschool age, but also strengthen social-emotional and social-cognitive competences.

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