Article/Report  |   October 2007
Language Development and Mild-to-Moderate Hearing Loss: Does Language Normalize With Age?
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Hélène Delage, Université François-Rabelais, Faculté des lettres, Départemente de linguistique, Laboratoire Langage and Handicap (JE 2321), 3 Rue des Tanneurs, 37 041 Tours Cedex1, France. E-mail: helene.delage@club-internet.fr.
Article Information
Development / Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article/Report   |   October 2007
Language Development and Mild-to-Moderate Hearing Loss: Does Language Normalize With Age?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2007, Vol. 50, 1300-1313. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/091)
History: Received March 7, 2006 , Revised September 19, 2006 , Accepted January 29, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2007, Vol. 50, 1300-1313. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/091)
History: Received March 7, 2006; Revised September 19, 2006; Accepted January 29, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Purpose: The authors' purpose was to explore the nature of the link between hearing loss (HL) and language impairment in adolescents with mild-to-moderate hearing loss (MMHL). Does language performance (generally or in certain areas) normalize at adolescence?

Method: The language skills of 19 French-speaking adolescents (ages 11–15) with moderate or mild sensorineural HL were evaluated via a series of tests assessing oral and written language, including an experimental probe, and compared with typically developing adolescents and adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI).

Results: Language disorders were found, notably in the areas of phonology and grammar, in more than half the adolescents with MMHL; affected domains and error patterns were identical to those found in adolescents with SLI. Language scores of the adolescents with MMHL were significantly linked with degree of HL, a correlation not generally found in studies of children with MMHL.

Conclusion: Normalization of language performance does not generalize at adolescence in the context of MMHL. The fact that an effect of the severity of HL was found only after childhood might be because linguistic development is basically complete at adolescence. Prior to this time, this effect could be obscured by developmental rhythms that vary from child to child.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the adolescents who participated in this study, as well as their families, for their cooperation. This study was possible due to the collaboration of ENT and speech-language professionals: Many thanks to Emmanuel Lescanne, Service ENT, Hôpital Clocheville, Regional University Hospital, Tours, France, and to Benoît Guimard, Marie-Claude Bonifait, Elisabeth Le Fouler, and Cécile Wattier, Centre Régional d’Audiophonologie Infantile, Tours, France. Hearing children were tested at Saint Martin Middle School, Tours, France. Finally, we are grateful to Anne Leclerc, Abdelhamid Khomsi, Cécile Monjauze, and the other members of the Language and Handicap Research Group of the University of Tours, Tours, France.
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