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January 1980

Hearing Loss and Learning Disability-Reply

Author Affiliations

The University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences 800 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38163

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(1):94. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130130076031

In Reply.—To conceptualize the results of our investigations as a statement that otitis media-related hearing loss causes poor learning is oversimplistic and reflects a lack of understanding. We have suggested that transient hearing loss and distortion of auditory signals during the early language-formative years results in deficiencies in language development. One aspect of receptive language, auditory processing, may be compromised, with effects observed in academic areas. By disrupting the normal sequence of language development, the repeated episodes of otitis media-induced hearing loss have an indirect effect on subsequent academic performance.

A considerable body of evidence exists that confirms that hearing loss, associated with early chronic otitis media, compromises a child's language development.1 The effects of hearing loss can be observed even during the prelinguistic babbling phases of early infancy.2 Additionally, otitis media-induced hearing loss has been associated with deficiencies in receptive language, expressive language, and verbal intelligence.