A recent report by Coventry University has been highlighted by the Nuffield Foundation and links reading difficulties with hearing impairments.
The Nuffield article writes:
“The researchers believe that if there was more awareness of youngsters’ hearing problems – as well as an understanding of what particular aspects of literacy they struggled with – then the children might be able to receive more structured support that could help them improve their reading and writing skills. The study compared children with dyslexia to youngsters who had a history of repeated ear infections to see if they had a similar pattern of literacy difficulties. The results showed that children with dyslexia have different patterns of literacy difficulties to children with a history of repeat ear infections, although there is some overlap between the groups. Children with dyslexia had difficulties with literacy activities involving the ability to manipulate speech sounds (known as phonology) and the knowledge of grammatical word structure (called morphology).”
Report author Dr Helen Breadmore said:
“A mild-moderate hearing loss will make the perception of speech sounds difficult, particularly in a classroom environment with background noise and other distractions. Therefore, children who have suffered repeated ear infections and associated hearing problems have fluctuating access to different speech sounds precisely at the age when this information is crucial in the early stages of learning to read.”
More info about the Nuffield Foundation article and the report here.