Language Development and Impairment in Children With Mild to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss Purpose The goal of this study was to examine language development and factors related to language impairments in children with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss (MMHL). Method Ninety children, aged 8–16 years (46 children with MMHL; 44 aged-matched controls), were administered a battery of standardized language assessments, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 10, 2017
Language Development and Impairment in Children With Mild to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lorna F. Halliday
    Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Outi Tuomainen
    Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Stuart Rosen
    Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Lorna F. Halliday: l.halliday@ucl.ac.uk
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Filip Smolik
    Associate Editor: Filip Smolik×
Article Information
Development / Hearing Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 10, 2017
Language Development and Impairment in Children With Mild to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1551-1567. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0297
History: Received July 21, 2016 , Revised September 28, 2016 , Accepted October 3, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1551-1567. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0297
History: Received July 21, 2016; Revised September 28, 2016; Accepted October 3, 2016

Purpose The goal of this study was to examine language development and factors related to language impairments in children with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss (MMHL).

Method Ninety children, aged 8–16 years (46 children with MMHL; 44 aged-matched controls), were administered a battery of standardized language assessments, including measures of phonological processing, receptive and expressive vocabulary and grammar, word and nonword reading, and parental report of communication skills. Group differences were examined after controlling for nonverbal ability.

Results Children with MMHL performed as well as controls on receptive vocabulary and word and nonword reading. They also performed within normal limits, albeit significantly worse than controls, on expressive vocabulary, and on receptive and expressive grammar, and worse than both controls and standardized norms on phonological processing and parental report of communication skills. However, there was considerable variation in performance, with 26% showing evidence of clinically significant oral or written language impairments. Poor performance was not linked to severity of hearing loss nor age of diagnosis. Rather, outcomes were related to nonverbal ability, maternal education, and presence/absence of family history of language problems.

Conclusions Clinically significant language impairments are not an inevitable consequence of MMHL. Risk factors appear to include lower maternal education and family history of language problems, whereas nonverbal ability may constitute a protective factor.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) First Grants Award (RES-061-25-0440) to Lorna F. Halliday. Thanks go to Steve Nevard and Kathleen McCarthy for their assistance in recording some of the stimuli. Thanks also go to Páraic Scanlon for testing some of the participants. Special thanks are extended to all of the children who participated, along with their parents, as well as the Local Educational Authorities and schools who assisted with recruitment.
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