Sound Processing and Language in Children with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Aims of the Study

1. To investigate the aided and unaided sound processing abilities of children with MMHL

Sound processing was assessed using behavioural psychophysical methods that measure the smallest differences between sounds that people can detect. In order to assess ‘real-world’ sound processing, children with MMHL were assessed both while they were wearing their hearing aid(s) and while they were not.

2. To investigate the sound processing abilities of children with MMHL using a passive task

The behavioural psychopshyical methods described above give an insight into sound processing. However, researchers have shown that sometimes children with hearing loss perform poorly on these tests because they need to put more effort into tasks that require them to listen. Because of this, we also measured sound processing using a technique that does not require any active listening. This technique is known as EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) and the specific measure we used called the event-related potential (ERP).

3. To determine whether sound processing is linked to language development in children with MMHL

To assess whether difficulties with sound processing were linked to language impairments in children with MMHL, we measured their performance on a wide range of language tests. Because our test battery was very comprehensive, this enabled us to ask which sound processing abilities were linked to which language abilities.