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Browsing by Author "Kurittu, Pinja"

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  • Kurittu, Pinja (2023)
    Hearing impairment is a risk factor for speech and language development. Previous studies with hearing-impaired children have shown that their vocabulary development is slower than normal, and they have challenges in the use of inflectional forms. The purpose of this master's thesis is to find out if there is a difference in the proficiency of expressive vocabulary or inflections and sentences in Finnish-speaking, bilaterally hearing-impaired children compared to children with normal hearing. In addition, the effect of singing on the observed language skills is examined. The thesis is part of the MULAPAPU research project, which investigates the effects of music on the language development of hearing-impaired children aged 0-7. The study included both hearing-impaired subjects (n=23) and controls with normal hearing (n=25). The subjects were between 1 and 6 years old. Hearing-impaired subjects were bilaterally using a cochlear implant, a hearing aid, or a combination of these. The exclusion criteria for both the group of hearing impaired and controls were any severe diagnosed comorbid disorders. Expressive vocabulary proficiency was assessed with the Leinikki questionnaire completed by parents, and proficiency in the use of inflectional forms and sentences was assessed with the MCDI questionnaire. Singing was surveyed with the MULAPAPU background survey. Differences in expressive vocabulary proficiency were statistically analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U-test, and the connections between parental singing, child’s singing and singing in a group, and expressive vocabulary proficiency were analyzed using correlation analysis. Very few control subjects had answered the MCDI questionnaire's section of inflectional forms and sentences, so the skills of hearing-impaired children were analyzed on an individual level by comparing their scores to the standard values of the questionnaire. No statistically significant difference in expressive vocabulary proficiency was observed between hearing-impaired and normally hearing children. However, the hearing-impaired group had a two-peaked distribution and some subjects had poor expressive vocabulary proficiency. Hearing-impaired children's proficiency in inflections and sentences fell short of the age norms, although proportionate to hearing age, some of the subjects had a good proficiency in inflections and sentences. Only the child singing was statistically significantly correlated to expressive vocabulary proficiency. The amount of singing by parents was also statistically significantly related to the amount of singing by the child. Guiding the close environment and encouraging children to sing can be a good part of rehabilitating the language skills of hearing-impaired children.