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Sound Processing and Language in Children with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
We have known for some time that having a permanent severe or profound hearing impairment in childhood often leads to marked delays and deficits in the development of spoken and written language. Much less is known about how having a permanent mild or moderate hearing loss (MMHL) in childhood affects language development. Recent research suggests that the language abilities of this group are mixed. Whereas many go on to acquire completely normal language abilities, others show substantial impairments. The aim of this project is to investigate why some children with MMHL have impaired language.
One factor that might account for the individual differences of children with MMHL is the way in which they process sounds. We know that the way in which children hear sounds when they are young can affect their subsequent language development. It may be that some children with MMHL have sound processing skills that are good enough to facilitate language development, whereas others do not. We want to understand which sound processing abilities are important for supporting language acquisition. In the long term this could lead to interventions for supporting language development in children with MMHL.