Language Development and Mild-to-Moderate Hearing Loss: Does Language Normalize With Age?

Delage, Hélène; Tuller, Laurice
October 2007
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2007, Vol. 50 Issue 5, p1300
Academic Journal
Purpose: The authors' purpose was to explore the nature of the link between hearing loss ( HL) and language impairment in adolescents with mild-to-moderate hearing loss (MMHL). Does language performance (generally or in certain areas) normalize at adolescence? Method: The language skills of 19 French-speaking adolescents (ages 11-15) with moderate or mild sensorineural HL were evaluated via a series of tests assessing oral and written language, including an experimental probe, and compared with typically developing adolescents and adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI). Results: Language disorders were found, notably in the areas of phonology and grammar, in more than half the adolescents with MMHL; affected domains and error patterns were identical to those found in adolescents with SLI. Language scores of the adolescents with MMHL were significantly linked with degree of HL, a correlation not generally found in studies of children with MMHL. Conclusion: Normalization of language performance does not generalize at adolescence in the context of MMHL. The fact that an effect of the severity of HL was found only after childhood might be because linguistic development is basically complete at adolescence. Prior to this time, this effect could be obscured by developmental rhythms that vary from child to child.


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