Hearing Aids Associated with Improved Speech and Language in Children — Physician’s First Watch
Hearing Aids Associated with Improved Speech and Language in Children
By Amy Orciari Herman
Young children who wear hearing aids to manage hearing loss have improved speech and language development, according to a cross-sectional study in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.
Researchers studied some 180 children who, at age 3 or 5 years, had mild or moderate-to-severe bilateral hearing loss. All but four had been fitted for hearing aids. Unaided and aided hearing were assessed, and all underwent standardized measures of speech and language ability.
Overall, the greater the gains in hearing that children experienced with hearing aids, the better their speech and language development — a correlation that the researchers characterized as modest. Longer duration of hearing aid use appeared to provide the greatest benefits.
The researchers conclude: "This study underscores the importance of not only providing [hearing aids] to children, but also insuring that [aids] provide an optimal level of audibility."