Language and Functional Outcomes in Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Jareen Meinzen-Derr, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Funded 2016-2017)

Statewide Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs have been instrumental in improving language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). Despite advances in both programs and technology, children who are DHH continue to have lower language relative to their age and cognitively matched peers. When this occurs, a cascading effect is seen on social functioning and academic outcomes. Our long term goal is to improve outcomes in children who are DHH. The objective of this project is to assess the outcomes of children who are DHH identified through the state of Ohio’s EHDI program using existing public health and education datasets. This will occur through the following specific aims: (1a) Create a comprehensive longitudinal database of children born in the state of Ohio with permanent hearing loss by linking existing vital records, hearing screening, early intervention and educational records. (1b) Characterize the health, social development, cognitive, and language status of children who are DHH who have been served by the EHDI system in Ohio using the comprehensive linked database. (2) Test the relationship between early social-emotional development and language development in children who are DHH served by the EHDI system. (3) Identify factors that are predictive of academic achievement in children who are DHH. Ohio EHDI data (through Hi-Track), which is already linked to birth records, will be linked to early intervention data (through Early Track). This linked dataset will then be linked to Ohio’s education data (collected through Education Management Information System (EMIS) which contains data for early childhood, primary, secondary, and special education for Ohio students. This study is poised for success by proposing a simple deterministist method for linking a state public health database for early intervention with a state
education database: both systems include a unique identifier for all children which is shared across the governmental organizations. The study team has experience with these types of data linkages as well as strong methodologic background to accomplish the research specific aims.