English-language skills were evaluated in two groups of profoundly hearing-impaired children with the Reynell Developmental Language Scales, Revised. The first group consisted of 89 deaf children who had not received cochlear implants. The second group consisted of 23 children wearing Nucleus multichannel cochlear implants. The subjects without implants provided cross- sectional language data used to estimate the amount of language gains expected on the basis of maturation. The Reynell data from the group without implants were subjected to a regression by age. On the basis of this analysis, deaf children were predicted to make half or less of the language gains of their peers with normal hearing. Predicted language scores were then generated for the subjects with implants by using the children's preimplant Reynell Developmental Language Scale scores. The predicted scores were then compared with actual scores achieved by the subjects with implants 6 and 12 months after implantation. Twelve months after implantation, the subjects demonstrated gains in receptive and expressive language skills that exceeded by 7 months the predictions made on the basis of maturation alone. Moreover, the average language-development rate of the subjects with implants in the first year of device use was equivalent to that of children with normal hearing. These effects were observed for children with implants using both the oral and total-communication methods.
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