Ear and Hearing Center
More Than Hearing Loss

More Than Hearing Loss

Up to 40% of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have problems not just with language delay but with learning, behavior, and motor development. Examples of disabilities include:

  • Cognitive or Intellectual disability
  • Blindness or low vision (vision impairment)
  • Cerebral Palsy or non-cerebral palsy motor disabilities
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD)
  • Autism
  • Learning disability
  • Behavioral and emotional disorders
  • Language disorders
  • Other

The combination of hearing loss and a disability puts children at risk for language and communication challenges and also for life-long disability. Because of the diverse nature of the additional disabilities, studies have been difficult to conduct and knowledge about outcomes has been limited.

The overall goal of our research program is to provide clinicians and families with highly relevant and informative evidence to help children meet their full potential. In doing so, we hope to:

  • Increase functional independence (independent functional abilities) of children with co-existing hearing loss and developmental disability
  • Decrease (prevent) secondary disability among children with hearing loss
  • Enhance quality of life among children with the dual diagnosis of hearing loss and disability

For nearly 10 years our research program has been focused on studying children who are deaf or hard of hearing with disabilities. The program is guided by a developmental pediatrician who is an expert in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The unique skill set of our team has enhanced our understanding of the impact of developmental disabilities on the deaf or hard of hearing child. We will continue working towards providing evidence that may better delineate factors contributing to improved outcomes among children who are deaf or hard of hearing with developmental disabilities.

young boy with disability and hearing loss.

Current Research Efforts

Our studies strive to understand language and communication skills, daily living skills, and functional skills in children who are deaf or hard of hearing with additional disabilities. Learn more about our current projects. 

How to get involved

Do you have an idea or a need?

We try to keep our research studies focused on answering questions that matter to children, families, and professionals.  If you have ideas about important questions or information that you would find helpful, we are open to hearing about your thoughts. 

We are working on establishing an advisory board to help guide our research efforts.  This board will include families, individuals who are deaf/hoh, and professionals to help guide our efforts.  If you are interested in becoming involved please Jareen Meinzen-Derr by email Jareen.Meinzen-Derr@cchmc.org.