In 2014, VDEI commissioned two studies recently completed
by researchers from the National Acoustics Laboratory (NAL). Their findings provide
interesting insights into Victorian children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH).
Study 1: The Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment
submitted a report to VDEI on the Victorian data from its Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment
(LOCHI). The study investigates the speech, language, academic, and functional
outcomes of children who are DHH at various ages. The children were five
years old when these data were collected. LOCHI is the largest study of its
More children in Victoria
- only communicated with sign language and not spoken language at
home and during early education than in NSW and Queensland
- changed from communicating with sign language to speaking than in
NSW and Queensland
We do not currently know
the reasons for these trends, but future research may explain why.
study further found that five-year-old children who were born deaf achieved
norms-based spoken language milestones due to several factors
identification of hearing loss
age of hearing aid fitting or cochlear implantation
severity of hearing loss
of an additional disability
or above normal nonverbal cognitive ability
in spoken language
a tertiary educated mother
Study 2: Literacy skills, social
capital, and online social participation
Little is known about
how adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing socially participate online.
VDEI wanted to see if the adolescents’ literacy skills and social capital were
The NAL researchers surveyed the online habits of 29 adolescents who
are DHH aged 11-18 from Victoria. The main findings suggest
the internet is frequently used for social participation by teenagers who are
per cent used the internet 2-3 hours per day, and another 40% for five or more
70% of adolescents used social networking sites. Facebook was the most frequently
The findings further
suggest links between
social capital and the number of hours spent online
literacy skills and offline social capital
internet may be useful for adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing for
sharing their opinions and broadening their worldviews. However, online
interactions do not substitute the value of face-to-face interactions in
providing social and emotional support.
The researchers stated the results remain
inconclusive until further research with a larger sample size is completed.
They also recommended further research to understand how adolescents who are
deaf or hard of hearing use and gain social capital.