Background. In the early stages of life, auditory input and communication are essential for acquisition of speech, cognition, behavior and social development. While so far the development evaluation of deaf children has not been given much attention. This study was design to evaluate the comprehensive developments of young children with severe or profound hearing loss and explore the effect of age on developments.
Methods. 500 children with severe or profound hearing loss (287 boys, 26.00±18.89 months, range 6-72 months) were recruited in this study. The developments of children were assessed by Gesell development schedules. All the children were divided into three groups according to age: infancy (6-12months), toddler (12-36months) and preschool (36-72months). Developments were evaluated and compared among the different age group.
Results: Compared with the normal developmental criteria, deaf children had overall development delay and only 50 (10%) reached the normal developmental level. The delay occurred in full-dimensional developments including gross motor, fine motor, adaptability, language, and social skill, the normal developmental rates of which were 42.0%, 24.8%, 27.4%, 4.2%, and 14.0%, respectively. For the five aspects developments, Pearson’s correlation showed that they were statistically significant correlated with each other (all p<0.001). Then, the developments among the different age group were compared and found that developments got worse with age (p<0.001). Apart from age, the results of multiple regression reveled that behavior audiology with hearing aids was negative correlated with the developments (p<0.05).
Conclusions. Deaf children could have overall developmental delay. Language development was the worst, followed by social skills and adaptability, and gross motor development, followed by fine motor, was the best. The older the deaf children, the more obvious the lag behind of development.
Keywords : young; children; deaf; comprehensive development; early.