No link between aggression and device failure

© Héctor Landaeta

Bad behavior in young children with hearing loss is not an indicator of device failure or a predictor of poor language development, according to Ohio researchers. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center researchers conducted a longitudinal study of children ages 18 to 48 months with hearing loss, including some with cochlear implants. They found no consistent correlation between bad behaviors like aggression or inattentiveness and delayed language acquisition for the children with implants.

“Our findings are contrary to the 2005 consensus on soft failures, which suggests that the development of bad behaviors in toddlers is indicative of a language delay and a red flag for implant malfunction,” said Susan Nittrouer, professor and director of research in the Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Surgery. “We hope this early research will encourage clinicians to look at other diagnostic indicators and intervention methods, and not just assume the behavior is related to a mechanical issue.”

Among other factors, the 2005 consensus checklist included the appearance of "bad" behaviors and aggression (externalizing behaviors) or self- injury and inattentiveness (internalizing behaviors) as indicators of sub-optimal cochlear implant performance widely referred to as soft failures. According to the checklist, these behaviors should predict slowed language development, but the Ohio State researchers didn’t find a relationship.


Rose Simpson