Improving vocabulary scores thanks to early detection

Early Assessment

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MedPage Today recently highlighted the results of a cross-sectional study showing that children with bilateral hearing loss had improved vocabulary skills if they met all of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) guidelines.

The researchers who conducted the study, working at the University of Colorado Boulder, and other institutes in the US, assessed data for 448 children with bilateral hearing loss aged 8 to 39 months (mean = 25.3 months). The children included lived in 12 different states and were participating in the National Early Childhood Assessment Project (NECAP), a program aimed at collecting data on developmental outcomes in children with hearing loss.

Some of the children enrolled in the study (18%) had additional disabilities considered to interfere with speech and/or language development, while the others did not (82%). Participating children’s expressive vocabulary was measured using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories, a norm-referenced assessment system extensively validated for typically developing children.

The results, published in the journal Pediatrics in mid-July, showed that the mean vocabulary quotient (VQ) for the 448 participants was 74.4. When considering only the 367 children with no additional disabilities, the mean VQ was 77.6. In the 81 children with additional disabilities, the mean was 59.8. Statistical analysis evaluating the three components of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention guidelines (hearing screening by 1 month, diagnosis of hearing loss by 3 months, and intervention by 6 months) showed that the group meeting all three criteria performed significantly better than the other three groups meeting fewer criteria.

Source: MedPage Today; Yoshinaga-Itano C., et al. Early Hearing Detection and Vocabulary of Children With Hearing Loss. Pediatrics. 2017 Jul 8.