This study examines the last 10 years of medical literature on the benefits of cochlear implantation in children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) with additional disabilities. The most recent literature concerning cochlear implants (CIs) in DHH children with additional disabilities was systematically explored through PubMed, Embase, Scopus, PsycINFO, and Web of Science from January 2012 to July 2023. Our two-stage search strategy selected a total of 61 articles concerning CI implantation in children with several forms of additional disabilities: autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, motor disorders, developmental delay, genetic syndromes, and intellectual disability. Overall, many children with additional disabilities benefit from CIs by acquiring greater environmental sound awareness. This, in turn, improves non-verbal communication and adaptive skills, with greater possibilities to relate to others and to be connected with the environment. Instead, despite some improvement, expressive language tends to develop more slowly and to a lesser extent compared to children affected by hearing loss only. Further studies are needed to better appreciate the specificities of each single disability and to personalize interventions, not restricting the analysis to auditory and language skills, but rather applying or developing cross-culturally validated instruments able to reliably assess the developmental trajectory and the quality of life of DHH children with additional disabilities before and after CI.
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