Expressive language of hard of hearing toddlers as influenced by siblings

Primary author: Allison Saur
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Mark Vandam

Primary college/unit: Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Campus: Spokane


Linguistic complexity is an indicator of language development in young children. Complexity of a child’s linguistic productions have been shown to increase with development, but may be affected by factors such as disability or environmental variables. In particular, hearing impairment may affect language and speech development. In a previous study, we investigated the effect of a siblings’ and sex of the child on the mean length of utterance (MLU) in typically developing children. Here, we look at the MLU of children who are hard-of-hearing compared to their typically developing peers in the context of siblings. MLUs were extracted from the public HomeBank database [] of transcribed natural child speech for both the target toddler and for siblings. A difference in expressive language was found between children who are hard-of-hearing and their typically developing peers. Findings are discussed in terms of language development and sibling presence on expressive language in children with hearing loss.