Children With Dyslexia or Repeated Ear Infections May Struggle With Phonology Dyslexia or a history of ear infections may hamper a child’s ability to learn word sound structures, affecting development of reading skills, indicates a recent study. Researchers from Coventry University in the United Kingdom observed 195 children, ages 8–10, including 36 children with dyslexia and 29 children who had frequent ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   January 01, 2018
Children With Dyslexia or Repeated Ear Infections May Struggle With Phonology
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Hearing Disorders / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   January 01, 2018
Children With Dyslexia or Repeated Ear Infections May Struggle With Phonology
The ASHA Leader, January 2018, Vol. 23, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23012018.14
The ASHA Leader, January 2018, Vol. 23, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23012018.14
Researchers from Coventry University in the United Kingdom observed 195 children, ages 8–10, including 36 children with dyslexia and 29 children who had frequent ear infections. The researchers tested the children for basic reading and writing skills and for how they used structures of words—based on their sounds and meanings—in both speech and literacy.
After 18 months, the researchers retested the children and screened their hearing. Twenty-five percent of the children with dyslexia showed some form of hearing loss, despite none of their parents reporting hearing loss before examination. Children with dyslexia also struggled with literacy activities involving manipulating speech sounds (phonology) and knowledge of grammatical word structure (morphology).

Twenty-five percent of the children with dyslexia showed some form of hearing loss, despite none of their parents reporting hearing loss before examination.

Additionally, one-third of children with repeated ear infections had difficulty with literacy tasks, particularly phonologic tasks. Because both subsets of children struggled with spoken word tasks, researchers suggest these children may have trouble understanding sound structures of words as they learn to read.
“A mild–moderate hearing loss will make the perception of speech sounds difficult, particularly in a classroom environment with background noise and other distractions,” says author Helen Breadmore. The researchers recommend more regular hearing screenings for children to address potential literacy and learning issues earlier.
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January 2018
Volume 23, Issue 1