Early treatment of single sided deafness in children has been recommended to protect from neurodevelopmental preference for the better hearing ear and from social and educational deficits. A fairly homogeneous group of five young children (≤3.6 years of age) with normal right sided hearing who received a cochlear implant to treat deafness in their left ears were studied. Etiology of deafness was largely cytomegalovirus (n = 4); one child had an enlarged vestibular aqueduct. Multi-channel electroencephalography of cortical evoked activity was measured repeatedly over time at: 1) acute (0.5 ± 0.7 weeks); 2) early chronic (1.1 ± 0.2 months); and 3) chronic (5.8 ± 3.4 months) cochlear implant stimulation. Results indicated consistent responses from the normal right ear with marked changes in activity from the implanted left ear. Atypical distribution of peak amplitude activity from the implanted ear at acute stimulation marked abnormal lateralization of activity to the ipsilateral left auditory cortex and recruitment of extra-Temporal areas including left frontal cortex. These abnormalities resolved with chronic implant use and contralateral aural preference emerged in both auditory cortices. These findings indicate that early implantation in young children with single sided deafness can rapidly restore bilateral auditory input to the cortex needed to improve binaural hearing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the time and help of the families and children who participated in this study. Funding was provided by:Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP-97924, MFE1748241), the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario Ministry of Training, and the University of Toronto.
© 2017 The Author(s).