Neurocognitive Processes in Deaf Children with Cochlear Implants

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary/Abstract:
Past research on cochlear implants has been narrowly focused on speech and language outcomes and
efficacy of cochlear implantation as a medical treatment for profound hearing loss. As noted in the two
earlier NIH consensus statements on cochlear implants, little if any research has investigated the underlying
neurobiological and neurocognitive factors that are responsible for the enormous individual differences and
variability in the effectiveness of cochlear implants. This proposal requests support for a program of
research on the neurocognitive processes underlying speech and language outcomes in prelingually deaf
children following cochlear implantation. The primary objective of this research project is to demonstrate
that specific domain-general neurocognitive processes related to executive functioning such as working
memory, fluency-speed, concentration-inhibition and organization-integration skills are strongly associated
with traditional clinical speech and language outcome measures. These processes involve the global
coordination, integration and functional connectivity of multiple underlying brain systems used in speech
perception, production and spoken language processing. In three related projects, we test the hypothesis
that executive function and organization-integration (EOI) processes contribute an additional unique source
of variance to speech and language outcomes and benefit above and beyond the conventional
demographic, medical and educational factors. The first project uses a cross-sectional design to assess EOI
functioning in long term cochlear implant users; the second project uses longitudinal methods to investigate
the development of EOI functioning; the third project uses a novel intervention approach to increase working
memory capacity and improve speech and language outcomes. These new findings on the underlying
sources of variability in spoken language processing will help us understand, explain and predict individual
differences in speech and language outcomes following cochlear implantation. The results of this project
have direct clinical implications for improving the diagnosis, treatment and early identification of young deaf
children who may be at high risk for poor outcomes following cochlear implantation.
Effective start/end date8/1/088/31/16


  • National Institutes of Health: $100,000.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $587,724.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $587,724.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $640,432.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $558,838.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $623,734.00


  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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