Anxiety in children with hearing aids or cochlear implants compared to normally hearing controls


  • This research was supported by the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VIDI grant) by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), no. 452-07-004 to Carolien Rieffe. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



The objectives of this study were to examine the levels of anxiety in hearing-impaired children with hearing aids or cochlear implants compared to normally hearing children, and to identify individual variables that were associated with differences in the level of anxiety.

Study Design:

Large retrospective cohort study.


Self-reports and parent-reports concerning general anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder were used. The study group (mean age, 11.8 years) consisted of three age-matched subgroups: 32 children with cochlear implants, 51 children with conventional hearing aids, and 127 children without hearing loss.


Levels of anxiety in children with cochlear implants and normally hearing children were similar. Early implantation was associated with lower levels of general and social anxiety. Remarkably, children with conventional hearing aids had higher levels of social anxiety, and their parents also reported more generalized anxiety disorder.


The outcomes demonstrate that in their level of anxiety, children with cochlear implants might be more comparable to normally hearing children than to children with hearing aids. This positive finding can be the consequence of audiological factors or other aspects of the cochlear implant rehabilitation program.