Condition or Therapy: Hearing loss
Category: Hearing and Communication

What is the goal of this study?

We want to find out how quickly infants with cochlear implants are able to hear sound differences. We want to know how this relates to their ability to learn to speak later. We want to improve how hearing is measured in infants with cochlear implants to help those who are not hearing as well much sooner than is possible currently.

Many infants who receive a cochlear implant within the first 2 years of life learn to speak at a normal rate. Others have significantly delayed speech. Infants’ ability to hear differences in pitch and loudness of sounds is an important factor in their ability to understand speech, but we cannot currently measure this in the clinic.

Who can join the study?

This study might be a good fit if your child:

  • Has a cochlear implant 
  • Received their cochlear implant device before 2 years of age
  • Is fitted with one cochlear implant device, with or without a hearing aid in the other ear
  • Is fitted with two cochlear implant devices, either at the same time or at different times

What happens in the study?

If you choose to take part in this study, your child would come to 4 to 10 study visits over 2 to 5 months. Each visit lasts 1 to 2 hours with breaks. 

During each visit, your child would:

  • Sit on your lap in a room with one of our study helpers who will engage your child in age-appropriate play.
  • Wear their cochlear implant with the sound processor and hear sounds presented at a comfortable loudness from a loudspeaker in the room.
  • Be observed by researchers outside the room who are looking through a window. As the loudspeaker sounds change, the researchers will be watching your child to see if your child noticed the change.

After your child has 12 months of experience with their cochlear implant, we will:

  • Compare your child’s results from their research visit with results from your child’s routine speech and language assessment completed at Seattle Children’s Hospital. (We will request an additional visit if the routine speech and language assessment has not been completed.) 

Scheduling is flexible! We can schedule your visit for any day, including Saturdays and Sundays. 

We can schedule the study visits on the same day that your child has appointments at the cochlear implant clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Who can I contact for information or to enroll?

Email the research coordinator.


Study Location(s): Seattle Children's Hospital main campusVirginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center
Principal Investigator: Dr. David Horn