Purpose: To evaluate the impact of hearing screening, diagnosis, and early intervention (EI) by 3 months or 6 months of age on language growth trajectories for children with hearing loss (HL) relative to children with normal hearing (NH).

Method: We recruited 133 children with mild to severe HL through universal newborn hearing screening records and referrals from audiologists in the United States; 116 children with NH who served as a comparison group. Examiners administered a battery of developmentally appropriate language measures between 12 months and 8 years of age. We constructed latent growth curve models of global language, grammar, and vocabulary using Bayesian statistics.

Results: Children with HL demonstrated no significant differences in initial language skills compared to children with NH. Children in the 1-3-6 group also showed no difference in language growth compared to children with NH. The slope for the 1-2-3 group was significantly steeper than children with NH for global language and grammar.

Conclusions: This study documents the positive impact of EI on language outcomes in children with congenital HL. It is among the first to provide evidence to support the potential effects of very early intervention by 3 months of age.

Additional Files

Language growth in children _revision with changes in red.docx (406 kB)
revised manuscript with changes in red

response to reviewers.docx (16 kB)
Response to reviewers