The aim of this study was to enhance knowledge about the life circumstances of children with cochlear implants or hearing aids, regarding daily functioning and attitude to the impairment.
Data were obtained from 36 children with cochlear implants and 38 children with hearing aids via study-specific questionnaires with fixed answer alternatives. The questions covered (1) usage of aids and related factors, (2) hearing in different everyday situations, (3) thoughts about the children's own hearing and others’ attitudes to it, and (4) choice of language. The data were analyzed using SPSS, and presented via the theoretical frame of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Child and Youth version (ICF-CY).
Children with CI and HA functioned equally well in daily life, but there were also certain differences. Symptoms from neck and shoulders were more common among children with hearing aids than among children with cochlear implants (p < .001). Children with hearing aids used their aids significantly less often than those with cochlear implants (p < .001). The participation variables showed that children with hearing aids had significantly more hearing problems in team sports (p = .033) and outdoor activities (p = .019), in comparison to children with cochlear implants. The two groups had similar thoughts regarding their own hearing, mostly considering it not to be a problem. They also did not generally think that other people found their hearing to be a problem.
Children with cochlear implants and children with hearing aids have, in some aspects, equally good functioning in everyday life situations. However, certain differences were found in dimensions of functioning, regarding neck and shoulder pain, usage of aids and sign language, and hearing problems in some activities.