Balance Performance of Deaf Children With and Without Cochlear Implants
The aim of this study was to compare the static and dynamic balance performance of deaf children with and without cochlear implants. This is a cross-sectional study of 145 school children, aged between 7 and 12 years comprising 85 children with congenital or early acquired bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss (the hearing loss group) and 60 normal hearing aged-matched control counterparts were assessed using the balance subtest of Bruininks-Oseretsky test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP). The hearing loss group, 50 without cochlear implants (the non-implant group) and 35 of them with unilateral cochlear implants (the implant group) were recruited from schools for the deaf and normal hearing children (the control group) randomly selected from two randomly selected elementary schools of Tehran city. The scores were analyzed using one-way ANOVA. The total score of deaf children especially the implant group were significantly lower than the control group )P<0.001). The balance performance of the control group was better than the implant group in all of the items as well as the non-implant group except the fourth tested item (walking forward on a line) (P<0.05). The balance score of the implant group was significantly lower than the non-implant group except for the third tested item (standing on the preferred leg on a balance beam with eyes closed). The findings suggested that deaf children, specifically those with cochlear implants are at risk for motor and balance deficits. Thus, vestibular and motor evaluations, as well as interventions to improve balance and motor skills, should be prioritized for this population.
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