ASHA journals
LSHSS-17-0028arenas_Supp.pdf (120.48 kB)

Developmental stuttering in children who are hard of hearing (Arenas et al., 2017)

Download (120.48 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2017-09-15, 21:48 authored by Richard M. Arenas, Elizabeth A. Walker, Jacob J. Oleson
Purpose: A number of studies with large sample sizes have reported lower prevalence of stuttering in children with significant hearing loss compared to children without hearing loss. This study used a parent questionnaire to investigate the characteristics of stuttering (e.g., incidence, prevalence, and age of onset) in children who are hard of hearing (CHH).
Method: Three hundred three parents of CHH who participated in the Outcomes of Children With Hearing Loss study (Moeller & Tomblin, 2015) were sent questionnaires asking about their child’s history of stuttering.
Results: One hundred ninety-four parents of CHH responded to the survey. Thirty-three CHH were reported to have stuttered at one point in time (an incidence of 17.01%), and 10 children were still stuttering at the time of survey submission (a prevalence of 5.15%). Compared to estimates in the general population, this sample displayed a significantly higher incidence and prevalence. The age of onset, recovery rate, and other characteristics were similar to hearing children.
Conclusions: Based on this sample, mild to moderately severe hearing loss does not appear to be a protective factor for stuttering in the preschool years. In fact, the incidence and prevalence of stuttering may be higher in this population compared to the general population. Despite the significant speech and language needs that children with mild to moderately severe hearing loss may have, speech-language pathologists should appropriately prioritize stuttering treatment as they would in the hearing population.

Supplemental Material. Individual responses to the survey from those who stated that their child had stuttered at one point in time.

Arenas, R. M., Walker, E. A., & Oleson, J. J. (2017). Developmental stuttering in children who are hard of hearing. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders R01DC009560 (PIs: Bruce Tomblin, Mary Pat Moeller).