Purpose: The overall goal of this study was to examine language performance in children with permanent hearing loss who were enrolled in a Listening and Spoken Language program. The influence of time spent in Early Intervention (EI) on language trajectories and ability to attain age-appropriate language skills was examined.

Methods: Retrospective data were obtained from children (N=48) who attended Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) for various lengths of time between 2004 and 2017. Children were grouped into those who had received EI prior to age 3 years versus those who did not. Standardized tests of receptive and expressive language were administered annually. Comparisons of language levels attained at the initial and final assessment were conducted and linear mixed model analyses examined language scores over time.

Results: Children receiving EI attained significantly higher levels of language than those receiving no EI. The rate of improvement over time in vocabulary scores was similar for both groups, however on a global language test that included morpho-syntax, children with EI made greater progress relative to age-matched peers than children without EI.

Conclusions: Children receiving EI exhibited a lasting advantage in the acquisition of spoken language over children who did not have access to EI.