Mild Conductive Hearing Loss and Language Development: A One Year Follow-up Study

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Thirteen children aged 3 to 5 years with mild conductive hearing losses and histories of otitis media were pair-matched with audiologically normal children on age, sex, socioeconomic status, family intactness, and first language (English). The Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language, the Northwestern Syntax Screening Test, and the Developmental Sentence Scoring Procedure were administered. Phonology errors were tabulated from the spontaneous language sample. The language evaluation was repeated after a 1-year interval. All measures differentiated the groups at highly significant levels on the initial assessment. All tests except the Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language continued to show significant differences a year later. The results support the hypothesis that children who experience recurrent middle ear problems are at risk for persistent language delay.

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