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Toddlers with Hearing Loss Needed for a National Study

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Every year more than 12,000 babies with permanent hearing loss are born in the United States. Through early diagnosis, appropriate listening aids and timely intervention, most of these children can acquire spoken language skills. But there is no formal agreement on how best to help children develop that language. Researchers at The Ohio State University, funded by the National Institutes of Health, are conducting a national study to determine the best ways to help infants and toddlers diagnosed with permanent hearing loss.

Dr. Susan Nittrouer, Principal Investigator for a team of researchers at The Ohio State University, has a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders to conduct this study. Her team has been collecting data at sites throughout the United States from 150 children with hearing loss and 50 children with normal hearing born between August 2002 and June 2004.

"This is an important study because new methods in diagnosis of hearing loss are allowing practitioners to identity children with hearing loss at younger ages than previously possible," Nittrouer said. "This study will help in deciphering the best intervention methods for children born with hearing loss." Families who participate in this project will be helping researchers understand what types of programs are most effective for these children, Nittrouer said.

The tests are simple, non-invasive and fun. Parents that have participated say their children look at the sessions as playtime. The parents and children who participate in the study will be required to spend two hours every six months and will be paid $50 for each session. Samples of the parent and child's interaction during play will be recorded on digital videotape; children will be given standard tests of language and reasoning; parents will be interviewed and will complete standard checklists concerning their child's behavior.

We still need more participants for this national study. Current established test sites are located in: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

For more information or if you are interested in participating, please contact the Early Development of Children with Hearing Loss research project, toll-free at (800) 678-6254, or email at edchl@osu.edu. Please visit our website at www.speechdevelopment.org/EDCHL.htm for more details.

Contact: Dr. Susan Nittrouer, The Ohio State University, Department of Speech & Hearing, (800) 678-6254

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