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Language ability after early detection of permanent childhood hearing impairment

Record type: Article

Background: Children with bilateral permanent hearing impairment often have impaired language and speech abilities. However, the effects of universal newborn screening for permanent bilateral childhood hearing impairment and the effects of confirmation of hearing impairment by nine months of age on subsequent verbal abilities are uncertain.

Methods: We studied 120 children with bilateral permanent hearing impairment identified from a large birth cohort in southern England, at a mean of 7.9 years of age. Of the 120 children, 61 were born during periods with universal newborn screening and 57 had hearing impairment that was confirmed by nine months of age. The primary outcomes were language as compared with nonverbal ability and speech expressed as z scores (the number of standard deviations by which the score differed from the mean score among 63 age-matched children with normal hearing), adjusted for the severity of the hearing impairment and for maternal education.

Results: Confirmation of hearing impairment by nine months of age was associated with higher adjusted mean z scores for language as compared with nonverbal ability (adjusted mean difference for receptive language, 0.82; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.31 to 1.33; and adjusted mean difference for expressive language, 0.70; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.13 to 1.26). Birth during periods with universal newborn screening was also associated with higher adjusted z scores for receptive language as compared with nonverbal ability (adjusted mean difference, 0.60; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.07 to 1.13), although the z scores for expressive language as compared with nonverbal ability were not significantly higher. Speech scores did not differ significantly between those who were exposed to newborn screening or early confirmation and those who were not.

Conclusions: Early detection of childhood hearing impairment was associated with higher scores for language but not for speech in midchildhood.

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Citation

Kennedy, Colin R., McCann, Donna C., Campbell, Michael J., Law, Catherine M., Mullee, Mark, Petrou, Stavros, Watkin, Peter, Worsfold, Sarah, Yuen, Ho Ming and Stevenson, Jim (2006) Language ability after early detection of permanent childhood hearing impairment New England Journal of Medicine, 354, (20), pp. 2131-2141. (doi:10.1056/NEJMoa054915).

More information

Published date: 18 May 2006
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 40457
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/40457
PURE UUID: 1d042195-e2ec-4385-8c09-5e296e75eec3

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Date deposited: 03 Jul 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:34

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Contributors

Author: Donna C. McCann
Author: Michael J. Campbell
Author: Catherine M. Law
Author: Mark Mullee
Author: Stavros Petrou
Author: Peter Watkin
Author: Sarah Worsfold
Author: Ho Ming Yuen
Author: Jim Stevenson

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