Multiple Perspectives on the Connection between Temporary Conductive Hearing Loss and Reading Development
Briand, Pamela Frances
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Children have difficulty with reading for a number of reasons. One of these reasons may be temporary conductive hearing loss (TCHL) in preschool, which can be caused by otitis media (persistent fluid build-up in the middle ear), one of the most frequent medical issues in preschool children (Burt & Schappert, 2004). While otitis media can be treated medically, the duration of hearing loss and the age at which the hearing loss occurred may contribute to future reading difficulties (Easterbrooks, Lederberg, Miller, Bergeron & Connor, 2008). The literature surrounding the connection between otitis media, TCHL, and reading development is inconclusive. In addition, the nature of interdisciplinary communication to discuss the potential future challenges for children who have had TCHL is unclear. Little is known about how professionals communicate with parents about these challenges, and about how parents can best support their children. This research focused on providing detailed descriptions of how medical and educational professionals reported they communicated with each other and with parents about the potential reading risks associated with TCHL. This study followed standard qualitative research methods to conduct in-depth interviews with six medical and educational professionals and with two parents of children with TCHL. Results from this study have revealed important aspects that characterize what, when, and how professionals inform parents of children with TCHL about potential future reading problems. The knowledge gained through this research can guide future research and have practical implications for medical and educational professionals and provides recommendations for how parents are informed about potential future reading difficulties.