Family Processes in Developmental Outcomes of Pediatric Hearing Loss

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary/AbstractThis revised application requests support for a new program of research on the influence of familyprocesses on core developmental outcomes in children with hearing loss. Despite widely availabletechnology to identify hearing loss as early as the first week of life and significant signal processingadvancements in hearing aids and cochlear implants, enormous individual differences still remain in thedegree to which children fully benefit from these medical interventions. A critical barrier to achieving optimaloutcomes and developing new interventions is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the relevantcontributing factors and mechanisms that affect variability in developmental outcomes in children withhearing loss. Extending the work on typically developing children and other clinical populations, emergingresearch suggests that a potent, yet ignored source of variance - the family environment - contributes tooutcomes in children with hearing loss. However, the extent of these associations, their underlyingdevelopmental mechanisms, and how they differ from families of children with normal hearing are unknown.This significant knowledge gap will be addressed in the proposed study, which will use a multi-source(parent, child, and teacher), multi-trait (questionnaires, direct observation, and child and caregiverperformance measures) longitudinal research design to measure 3- to 8-year-old normal-hearing andhearing-impaired children's spoken language and executive function development over two years andinvestigate the most relevant family factors in cognitive and linguistic development at the same time pointsto uncover the family mechanisms linking hearing loss risk to these core developmental outcomes. Thespecific aims of the proposed research are to: 1) identify differences in family environment and parentingfactors in families of young children with different hearing histories; and 2) to uncover the developmentalmechanisms through which family and parenting factors influence spoken language and executive functiondevelopment in children with hearing loss in early childhood. Our findings will be significant for developmentof understanding and explaining the contributing role of hearing, speech perception and family dynamics inthe children's development of language and executive function. Our findings also will be clinically significantby providing new, requisite, foundational knowledge that will guide the design of future intervention studiesby identifying not only which family environment constructs are related to at-risk outcomes, but also theirmechanisms of action. In future intervention studies, novel treatments that target known aspects of familyenvironment responsible for protecting from or exacerbating cumulative risk to spoken language andexecutive function competence in children with hearing loss will fundamentally change current models ofintervention for pediatric hearing loss.
Effective start/end date8/1/167/31/21


  • National Institutes of Health: $656,111.00

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