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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2014 Jan;19(1):20-39. doi: 10.1093/deafed/ent039. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Outcomes of 3-year-old children with hearing loss and different types of additional disabilities.

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Centre for Cognition and its Disorders, Australian Hearing Hub, 16 University Avenue, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109, Australia.


This research investigated the speech, language, and functional auditory outcomes of 119 3-year-old children with hearing loss and additional disabilities. Outcomes were evaluated using direct assessment and caregiver report. Multiple regressions revealed that type of additional disability and level of maternal education were significant predictors of language outcomes. Poorer outcomes were achieved in a combined group of children with autism, cerebral palsy, and/or developmental delay (DD) (Group A), compared with children with vision or speech output impairments, syndromes not entailing DD, or medical disorders (Group B). Better outcomes were associated with higher levels of maternal education. The association between better language outcomes and earlier cochlear implant switch-on approached significance. Further regression analyses were conducted separately for children with different types of additional disabilities. Level of maternal education was the only significant predictor of outcomes for Group A children, whereas degree of hearing loss was the strongest predictor for children in Group B. The findings highlight the variable impact that different types of additional disabilities can have on language development in children with hearing loss.

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