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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Children and youth who are hard of hearing comprise a substantial proportion of the birth to young adult population with hearing loss, but in spite of this, researchers have paid scant attention to this group, in comparison to their peers who are deaf. However, there is currently a growing interest in the development of children whose hearing losses range from mild to severe. This focus has come about in part because of the widespread implementation of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI), which is resulting in far earlier diagnosis and intervention—and improved outcomes across domains—than was evident in the past, and in part because of improved amplification technologies. Taken together, the overall impact of EHDI and improved amplification options is that there appears to be an increase in the population of children who are now able to develop functional communication skills more characteristic of hard-of-hearing children than of deaf children.

The aims of this chapter are to consider (1) the challenges inherent in interpreting research on individuals who are hard of hearing in the absence of a consistent definition, (2) outcomes in terms of speech and language development in children who are hard of hearing, (3) the vital role of acoustic ecology and hearing accessibility in the lives of children and youth who are hard of hearing, (4) the relationship between hearing accessibility and identity construction in hard-of-hearing adolescents, and (5) the actual and anticipated impact of newborn hearing screening and early intervention for this population.

Keywords: acoustic ecology, hearing accessibility, cochlear implants, early identification, hard-of-hearing children, speech development

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