The relationship between language development and behaviour problems in children with hearing loss

Jim Stevenson, Donna McCann, Peter M Watkin, Sarah Worsfold, Colin Kennedy, Hearing Outcomes Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: There are well-replicated findings that link poor development on a range of communication skills with increased behavioural problems. This paper examines this relationship in children with hearing loss.

METHOD: One hundred and twenty children with hearing loss (67 boys, 53 girls) and 63 hearing children (37 boys, 26 girls) with a mean age of 8 years from eight districts in Southern England were assessed for receptive and expressive language skills. The relationships between these measures and an aggregate of parent- and teacher-reported behaviour problems in the children were investigated.

RESULTS: Children with hearing loss had higher levels of behaviour problems compared to hearing children. Once the language abilities of children with hearing loss are taken into account, the negative effects of hearing loss on behaviour disappear.

CONCLUSIONS: Behaviour problems are found more commonly in children with hearing loss and the level of behaviour problems is highest amongst those children with hearing loss with the least developed language capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Speech Therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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