To examine the impact of classroom placement and mode of communication on speech intelligibility scores in children aged 8 to 9 years using multichannel cochlear implants.
Classroom placement (special education, partial mainstream, and full mainstream) and mode of communication (total communication and auditory-oral) reported via parental rating scales before and 4 times after implantation were the independent variables. Speech intelligibility scores obtained at 8 to 9 years of age were the dependent variables.
The study included 131 congenitally deafened children between the ages of 8 and 9 years who received a multichannel cochlear implant before the age of 5 years.
Higher speech intelligibility scores at 8 to 9 years of age were significantly associated with enrollment in auditory-oral programs rather than enrollment in total communication programs, regardless of when the mode of communication was used (before or after implantation). Speech intelligibility at 8 to 9 years of age was not significantly influenced by classroom placement before implantation, regardless of mode of communication. After implantation, however, there were significant associations between classroom placement and speech intelligibility scores at 8 to 9 years of age. Higher speech intelligibility scores at 8 to 9 years of age were associated with classroom exposure to normal-hearing peers in full or partial mainstream placements than in self-contained, special education placements.
Higher speech intelligibility scores in 8- to 9-year-old congenitally deafened cochlear implant recipients were associated with educational settings that emphasize oral communication development. Educational environments that incorporate exposure to normal-hearing peers were also associated with higher speech intelligibility scores at 8 to 9 years of age.