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Working memory training and language outcomes in children with cochlear implants

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study is to provide information on whether improvements in language skills might be achieved by improving working memory capacity in cochlear-implanted children.

Patients and Methods

This study was carried out on 30 prelingual cochlear-implanted children at the Hearing and Speech Institute. They were divided into two groups: group I received communicative therapy plus a working memory training program. Group II received communicative therapy only. Post-therapy evaluation was carried out after 6 months using the Modified Preschool Language Scale-4 for assessing language and the working memory subtests measures of the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale ‘5th Arabic version‘ for the assessment of working memory.

Results

The results of this study showed an improvement in verbal working memory capacity, nonverbal working memory capacity, and the total working memory in the group of children with cochlear implants (CIs) who received 6 months of a working memory training program in addition to communicative therapy. The findings indicate that there is an improvement in the verbal and nonverbal working memory in the participants following the training on certain tasks in the computer-based working memory training program. This will lead to an improvement in the language skills as well.

Conclusion

Working memory training may improve some memory and language skills for children with CIs. As a result, interventions specifically designed to address the basic underlying verbal working memory deficits of children with CIs may be expected to have wide-ranging effects that generalize well beyond the trained working memory tasks and stimuli themselves and show transfer to nontrained language perception and memory tasks.

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Correspondence to Iman El Rouby MD.

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Samy, A., Aziz, A.A., El Rouby, I. et al. Working memory training and language outcomes in children with cochlear implants. Egypt J Otolaryngol 34, 301–307 (2018). https://doi.org/10.4103/ejo.ejo_30_17

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Keywords

  • cochlear implants
  • language development
  • working memory