Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Krystal Werfel


Purpose: The purpose of this language sample analysis was to describe complex syntax development in children with hearing loss over the preschool years. The current study addresses the following relevant research questions: Do children with hearing loss have increased performance over preschool years on broad measures of complex syntax? and What are the developmental trajectories on complex syntax in children with hearing loss?

Methods: 9 children with hearing loss participated in a 12-minute language sample following the Hadley Protocol (1998). Each child was tested at age 4 and then again in 6-month intervals until they turned 6. These children with hearing loss reported using spoken language as their primary form of communication and use amplification. Additionally, the participants use cochlear implants, hearing aids, or both. Participants in this group have no other external diagnoses.

Results:During the preschool years, complex syntax density increased in children with hearing loss. The participants also produced a relatively low rate of errors in complex syntax productions. Children with hearing loss exhibited the most significant growth for coordinate clauses, reduced infinitives, simple infinitives, full propositional clauses, and headless relative clauses.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that children with hearing loss are producing utterances containing complex syntax with limited errors and their complex syntax density is increasing over time.


© 2020, Marissa Castaldo