Fifty years ago, the advent of the electronic hearing aid had a dramatic impact on the speech and auditory capabilities of children with hearing loss. Today, children with moderate hearing loss generally perform comparably to their hearing peers. Electronic hearing aids were less successful in insuring spoken language development in children with profound hearing loss in the past but today multi-channel cochlear implants have the potential to accomplish for deaf children what the electronic hearing aid made possible for children with lesser hearing loss. Recent and ongoing research has advanced our understanding of the process of learning language in children. The earliest acquisition of speech, including babbling and sound organization, have been examined and assessed with regard to the possible consequences of deprivation of auditory input during the developmental period. Understanding how to compensate for reduced precision and specificity of auditory pathway function is also being explored as an input to designing the most effective rehabilitation process for children with hearing loss. AG Bell seeks funding for a Research Symposium, """"""""The Role of Audition in Spoken Language Development,"""""""" to be held at the Biennial International Convention in St. Louis (MO) on June 30, 2002. The symposium would be similar in approach to AG Bell's first scientific symposium held in July 2000 in Philadelphia with NIH support. Last year's symposium, """"""""Biotechnology and the Cochlea,"""""""" was organized to appeal to an audience of consumers and professionals with an interest in hearing loss but not necessarily a scientific background. Drawing over 1400 participants including parents, professionals who work with hearing impaired children (particularly teachers) and adults with hearing loss, the 2000 Symposium was the most highly rated session at the 2000 Convention. This proposal would bring together a diverse group of scientists in the field of language development to explore various inputs into language development. A keen interest of scientists and AG Bell participants alike is the impact that such understanding has on the ability of children to learn spoken language using advanced hearing technology. Speakers will each present and answer questions from the audience of approximately 1600 people. Products will include a brochure announcing the symposium for dissemination beyond AG Bell's members (the conference will be heavily publicized in all AG Bell periodicals), a proceedings document with summaries of each speaker's remarks, and captioned videos.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Conference (R13)
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Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
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Donahue, Amy
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Ag Bell Assn for Deaf & Hard of Hearing
United States
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