This article reports on the psychosocial development and factors influencing outcomes of 5-year-old children with cochlear implants (CIs) or hearing aids (HAs). It further examines differences between children with CIs and HAs with similar levels of hearing loss. Data were collected as part of the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment study—a prospective, population-based study. Parents/caregivers of children completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (n = 333), the Social Skills subscale from the Child Development Inventory (n = 317), and questionnaires on functional auditory behavior (Parents’ Evaluation of Aural/oral performance of Children), and demographics. Children completed assessments of nonverbal cognitive ability (Wechsler Non-verbal Scale of Ability) and language (Preschool Language Scale - fourth edition). On average, parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire scores on emotional or behavioral difficulties were within 1 SD of the normative mean; however, Child Development Inventory scores on social skills were more than 1 SD below the norm. Children with severe-to-profound hearing losses using HAs had significantly more behavioral problems than children with CIs. Regression analyses showed that non-verbal cognitive ability, language, and functional auditory behavior were significantly associated with psychosocial outcomes for children with HAs, whereas outcomes for children with CIs were associated with functional auditory behavior and the presence of additional disabilities. Age at hearing intervention, severity of hearing loss, and communication mode were not associated with outcomes. The results suggest that even children who develop good language ability with the help of a HA or CI may have psychosocial problems if they exhibit difficulties with listening and communicating in everyday environments. The findings have implications for developing interventions for young children with hearing loss.
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- deaf or hard of hearing, hearing aids
- cochlear implant
- social skills
- functional communication skills
- Parents’ Evaluation of Aural/oral performance of Children
- Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
- Child Development Inventory