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Study of pragmatic language ability in children with hearing loss

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Abstract

Background

Pragmatic language refers to how language is used socially to achieve some purpose in communication. Pragmatic language impairment can be a disorder by itself, or as a sign of other accompanying disorders. Hearing-impaired children show less clear pragmatic communication functions. Knowledge of pragmatic abilities in children with hearing loss (HL) is lacking relative to that of children with normal hearing (NH).

Aim

The aim of this study was to examine the pragmatic language ability in Arabic-speaking children with sensorineural hearing loss in order to apply a proper intervention program to guard against the effect of early pragmatic language skill disorders on later academic and social abilities.

Participants and methods

Twenty-seven children with HL were subjected to pragmatic language assessment using the Arabic version of the Test of Pragmatic Language, 2nd edition and both the Observational Rating Scale and the Pragmatic Profile subtests of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamental, 4th edition. The results obtained were compared with the results of 27 age-matched and sex-matched NH children.

Results

The results of this study revealed significantly lower pragmatic abilities in children with HL compared with children with NH. Male children were significantly more impaired compared with female children. There were significant correlations between the pragmatic variables and the degree of HL, speech discrimination ability, and the duration of auditory deprivation.

Conclusion

HL children had significantly lower pragmatic skills compared with NH children, with greater affection correlated with increasing severity of HL and the duration of auditory deprivation. The higher susceptibility to pragmatic impairment in this category of children as well as the importance of pragmatic skills for further social communicative and academic careers should be considered in their rehabilitative plan.

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Correspondence to Sally T. Kheir El-Din MD.

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Shoeib, R.M., Kaddah, F.EZ.A., Kheir El-Din, S.T. et al. Study of pragmatic language ability in children with hearing loss. Egypt J Otolaryngol 32, 210–218 (2016). https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.186526

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Keywords

  • auditory deprivation
  • hearing loss
  • pragmatic disorders
  • pragmatic language
  • test of pragmatic language
  • 2nd edition