A study in the August 2017 issue of Pediatrics, "Early Hearing Detection and Vocabulary of Children with Hearing Loss," (published online July 10) examined the role early screening and intervention guidelines play in improving the vocabulary skills of children with hearing loss.
The Early Hearing and Detection Intervention guidelines recommend that all children be screened for hearing loss by 1 month of age; that any hearing loss be diagnosed by 3 months of age; and if hearing loss is found, intervention be started by 6 months of age.
Researchers examined 488 children from 12 states with hearing loss in both ears and monitored their rate of vocabulary development. They found that vocabulary levels were significantly higher for children who were evaluated and treated according to the early hearing detection guidelines. Other factors that led to increased vocabulary were:
Diagnosis at younger age
No additional disabilities
Mild-moderate hearing loss
Having parents who were deaf or hard of hearing
Having mothers with higher levels of education
The researchers noted that across the participating states, only one-half to two-thirds of children met the early hearing detection and intervention guidelines. They note that work still needs to be done to ensure that all children are screened and receive intervention for hearing loss in accordance with the guidelines.