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Arnold School of Public Health


Early Language and Literacy Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss

Funding: National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (PI: Werfel)

Despite technological advances in amplification, literacy achievement for children with hearing loss who use spoken language is alarmingly low. Although some children with hearing loss who use spoken language achieve literacy levels within the average range (Moog, 2002), over 60% of early-implanted children read below an eighth-grade level in high school (Geers & Hayes, 2011). Adults with low literacy achievement are less likely than adults with average literacy achievement to graduate high school, attend college, and be employed full-time (Kutner et al., 2007). After high school, only about half of individuals with hearing loss are competitively employed (Newman et al., 2009). It is vital, therefore, to take steps to optimize literacy outcomes for all children with hearing loss to ensure academic and occupational success. This study evaluates the development of oral language, phonological processing, and orthographic knowledge of preschool children with hearing loss who use spoken language and how these early skills relate literacy achievement at age 6. This can help to better predict which preschool children with hearing loss are at-risk for literacy deficits.

This study has two main goals:

goal1

Goal 1: Determine the developmental trajectories of oral language, phonological processing, and orthographic knowledge for children with hearing loss across the preschool years.

goal2

Goal 2: Determine whether preschool oral language, phonological processing, and orthographic knowledge predict unique variance in literacy achievement in children with hearing loss at age 6.

 

Impact: This study will provide a better understanding about how early language, phonological, and orthographic skills develop and contribute to literacy achievement in children with hearing loss. Such knowledge will have a significant long-term impact on early identification of preschool children with hearing loss who are most at-risk for later spoken language and literacy deficits.

Want to be Involved?

If you are the parent of a preschool student with or without hearing loss, click here to request more information about participating in this study.

If you are a student at USC and would like to volunteer on this study, click here.