Master Theses UMCG - University of Groningen
English | Nederlands

Language outcome in children with congenital hearing impairment: the influence of etiology

(2017) Dieleman, E. (Eveline)

Introduction Different factors affect the language development in children with congenital hearing impairment after a medical-technical intervention, e.g. cochlear implantation, and auditory-verbal therapy (AVT). Previous studies have suggested that the differences in language outcome may be explained by the etiology of the hearing impairment (HI). Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether language outcome in children with HI is associated with the etiology of HI after an early medical-technical intervention and three years of AVT.
Materials & Methods This observational retrospective two-center study comprised 53 hearing impaired children divided in four etiology groups; (1) degeneratio labyrinthi acustici (DLA) congenita hereditaria, (2) DLA congenita non specificata, (3) DLA congenita postinfectiosa and (4) auditory neuropathy respectively. The children underwent three different tests examining receptive vocabulary (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, PPVT-4), receptive language (Reynell test) and productive language (the Danish ‘Viborgmaterialet’). All tests were conducted 1, 2 and 3 years after the children received their hearing device. Test scores were calculated from the child’s chronological age. Fisher’s exact test was used for analysis of possible associations. Subsequently, univariate analyses were performed to search for other possible covariates associated with language outcome. A p-value of 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. All statistical analyses were done using IBM SPSS Statistics 24.
Results 32.1% of the participants was classified as ‘DLA congenita hereditaria’, 49.1% as ‘DLA congenita non specificata’, 17.0% as ‘DLA congenita postinfectiosa’ and 1.9% had auditory neuropathy. No significant associations were found between the etiology of the HI and the language outcome of children with HI after 1 year of AVT (PPVT, p=0,234; Reynell, p=0,845; Viborgmaterialet, p=0,667), neither after 2 years of AVT (PPVT, p=0,228; Reynell, p=0,172; Viborgmaterialet, p=0,659) nor after 3 years of AVT (PPVT, p=0,102; Reynell, p=0,512 Viborgmaterialet, p=0,580). Some significant associations were found between language outcome and the type of hearing device and between language outcome and additional disabilities, however no strong evidence was found.
Conclusion Our results suggest that there is no influence of the etiology of the HI on language outcome in children with congenital hearing impairment. Besides, this study highlights the interest of further research using objective assessments techniques in a larger and more homogeneous population. If the findings from this study will be confirmed in future studies, this will have a clinical and societal impact regarding the diagnostics of HI.

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