Quality of Life and Hearing Technology

Fact Sheet

  • The quality of life for children who are deaf or hard of hearing is excellent when they have access to early identification, appropriate hearing technology and access to professionals qualified to provide family-centered support as they begin the journey of language development. Visit ListeningandSpokenLanguage.org to learn more about the Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS™) certification.1
  • Listening and Spoken Language Specialists help children who are deaf or hard of hearing develop spoken language and literacy primarily through listening. LSLS certified professionals guide parents in helping their children develop spoken language through listening and coach them in advocating their children’s inclusion in the mainstream school. Ultimately, parents gain confidence that their children will have access to the full range of educational, social and vocational choices in life.1
  • Children with hearing loss who begin early intervention earlier have significantly better developmental outcomes than similar children who begin intervention later.2, 3, 4
  • With appropriate early intervention, children with hearing loss can be mainstreamed in regular elementary and secondary education classrooms. Recent research has concluded that children born with a hearing loss who are identified and given appropriate intervention before 6 months of age demonstrated significantly better speech and reading comprehension than children identified after 6 months of age. 5,6
  • Cost-utility analysis studies, which are used to compare the cost-effectiveness of various health technologies, suggest that cochlear implants compare favorably with other medical interventions and are well within the cost effectiveness range currently accepted by the American medical system.7
  • Cochlear implants provide a cost savings of about $53,000 over the individual child’s lifetime, including both direct and indirect costs. These savings result from the reduced costs of special education and improved future wage-earning opportunities.8
  • Children who have cochlear implants rank their quality of life equal to peers with typical hearing, according to cross-sectional studies which compared the responses on a quality of life questionnaire of children with a cochlear implant to a control group with typical hearing.9
  • Hearing loss treatment is shown to improve quality of life. Research by the National Council on the Aging on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss as well as their significant others demonstrated that treating hearing loss was shown to improve earning power, communication in relationships, warmth in family relationships, ease in communication, emotional stability, sense of control over life events, perception of mental functioning, physical health, and group social participation.10
References and Resources 
  1. ListeningandSpokenLanguage.org
  2. Holt, R. E., & Svirsky, M. A. (2008). An exploratory look at pediatric cochlear implantation: Is earliest always best? Ear & Hearing, 29(4), 492–511.
  3. Moeller, M. P. (2000). Early intervention and language development in children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Pediatrics,106(3), e43.
  4. Nicholas, J. G., & Geers, A. E. (2006). Effects of early experience on the spoken language of deaf children at 3 years of age. Ear & Hearing, 27(3), 286–298.
  5. Yoshinaga-Itano, C. & Apuzzo, M. L. (1998). Identification of hearing loss after 18 months of age is not early enough. American Annuals of the Deaf, 143(5), 380-387.
  6. Yoshinaga-Itano C., Sedey, A. L., Coulter, B. A., & Mehl, A. L. (1998). Language of early and later-identified children with hearing loss. Pediatrics, 102(5), 1168-1171.
  7. Wyatt, J. R., Niparko, J. K., Rothman, M. L., & deLissovoy, G. (1995). Cost effectiveness of the multichannel cochlear implant. American Journal of Otology, 16(1), 52-62.
  8. Cheng, A. K., Rubin, H. R., Powe, N. R., Mellon, N. K., Francis, H. W., Niparko, J. K.(2000). Cost-utility analysis of the cochlear implant in children. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(7), 850-856.
  9. Loy, B. Warner-Czyz, A. D., Tong, L., Tobey, E. A., & Roland, P. S. (2010). The children speak: An examination of the quality of life of pediatric cochlear implant users. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 142, 247-253.
  10. Kochkin, S. (n.d.). The impact of treated hearing loss on quality of life. Washington, D.C.: Better Hearing Institute. www.betterhearing.org