Washington, DC — The most recent issue of The Volta Review, a publication of The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, includes a longitudinal study on the effectiveness of auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) for children.

The study “Is Auditory-Verbal Therapy Effective for Children with Hearing Loss?” completes a 50-month longitudinal study following the language, literacy, and emotional development of 19 children with hearing loss who use listening and spoken language.

The end results indicate that the children with hearing loss who succeed with auditory-verbal therapy are well adjusted and have language skills on par with those of their peers who have typical hearing, according to the researchers.

Dimity Dornan, BaSpTh, SPAA, LSLS Cert. AVT, who led the research team, said in a press statement, “Study on the outcomes of the AVT group is important because few controlled longitudinal studies of speech and language outcomes are available for children with hearing loss. In addition, an extension of the study time allowed us to include measures of academic outcomes for the children.”

The small study matched a total of 19 children who were deaf or hard of hearing and using listening and spoken language with a control group of children who had typical hearing. Dornan and her team proceeded to conduct benchmark assessments for receptive, expressive, and total language, receptive vocabulary, and speech, and reassessed at the 9-, 21-, 38- and 50-month mark. Over the last 12 months of the study, the team also assessed for reading and mathematics skills as well as self-esteem.

At the 50-month mark, according to the researchers, there were no significant differences between the children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the children with typical hearing. Speech perception improved significantly with moderate to high levels at the 50-month mark.

Although the group was identified at a mean age of 22.29 months, which is much later than the current recommended age of 6 months, their language and speech attainments have been the same as those of the matched control group. Reading, mathematics, and self-esteem outcomes were also comparable for both groups over the last 12 months of the study period.

The researchers concluded that AVT was effective for this group of children with hearing loss. The study, available here, was published in the fall 2010 issue of The Volta Review.

SOURCE: The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing