Existing Evidence that Supports the Rationale for Auditory-VerbalPractice

  1. The majority of children with hearing loss have useful residual hearing; a fact known for decades (Bezold & Siebenmann, 1908; Goldstein, 1939; Urbantschitsch, 1982).
  2. When properly aided, children with hearing loss can detect most if not all of the speech spectrum (Beebe, 1953; Goldstein, 1939; Johnson, 1975; Johnson, 1976; Ling, 1989; Ling & Ling 1978,; Pollack, 1970, 1984; Ross & Calvert, 1984).
  3. Once ALL available residual hearing is accessed through amplification technology (e.g., binaural hearing aids and acoustically tuned earmolds, FM units, cochlear implants) in order to provide maximum detection of the speech spectrum, then a child will have the opportunity to develop language in a natural way through the auditory modality. That is, a child with hearing loss need not automatically be a visual learner. Hearing, rather than being a passive modality that receives information, can be the active agent of cognitive development (Boothroyd, 1982; Goldberg & Lebahn, 1990; Robertson & Flexer, 1990; Ross & Calvert, 1984).
  4. In order to benefit from the “critical periods” of neurological and linguistic development, then the identification of hearing loss, use of appropriate amplification and medical technology, and stimulation of hearing must occur as early as possible (Clopton & Winfield, 1976; Johnson & Newport, 1989; Lennenberg, 1967; Marler, 1970; Newport, 1990).
  5. If hearing is not accessed during the critical language learning years, a child’s ability to use acoustic input meaningfully will deteriorate due to physiological (retrograde deterioration of auditory pathways), and psychosocial (attention, practice, learning) factors (Evans, Wester, & Cullen 1983; Merzenich & Kaas, 1982; Patchett, 1977; Robertson & Irvine, 1989; Webster, 1983).
  6. Current information about normal language development provides the framework and justification for the structure of Auditory-Verbal practice. That is, infants/toddlers/children learn language most efficiently through consistent and continual meaningful interactions in a supportive environment with significant caretakers (Kretschmer & Kretschmer, 1978; Lennenberg, 1967; Leonard, 1991; Ling, 1989, MacDonald & Gillette, 1989; Menyuk, 1977; Ross, 1990).
  7. As verbal language develops through the auditory input of information, reading skills can also develop (Geers & Moog, 1989; Ling, 1989; Robertson & Flexer, 1990).
  8. Parents in Auditory-Verbal programs do not have to learn sign language or cued speech. More than ninety percent of parents of children with hearing loss have normal hearing (Moores, 1987). Studies show that over ninety percent of parents with normal hearing do not learn sign language beyond a basic preschool level of competency (Luetke-Stahlman & Moeller, 1987). Auditory-Verbal practice requires that caregivers interact with a child through spoken language and create a listening environment which helps a child to learn.
  9. If a severe or profound hearing loss automatically makes an individual neurologically and functionally “different” from people with normal hearing (Furth, 1964; Myklebust & Brutton, 1953), then the Auditory-Verbal philosophy would not be tenable. The fact is, however, that outcome studies show that individuals who have, since early childhood, been taught through the active use of amplified residual hearing, are indeed independent, speaking, and contributing members of mainstream society (Goldberg & Flexer, 1991; Ling, 1989; Yoshinaga-Itano & Pollack; 1989).


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  • Boothroyd, A. (1982). Hearing impairments in young children. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
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  • Goldberg., D.M., & Flexer, C.(1991, June). Where are they now? Survey of Auditory-Verbal graduates. Presentation at the Auditory-Verbal International Conference, “Listening is the Future–The Time is Now–The Future is Hear,” Easton, PA.
  • Goldberg, D.M., & Lebahn, C. (1990, July). Performance of Auditory-Verbal children on the TAC. Poster session presentation at the Biennial Convention of the A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf, Washington, DC.
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  • Johnson, J. & Newport, E. (1989). Critical period effects in second-language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 60-90.
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  • Patchett, T. A. (1977). Auditory discrimination albino rats as a function of auditory restriction at different ages. Developmental Psychology, 13, 168-169.
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  • Robertson, L., & Flexer, C. (1990, July). The reading development of Auditory-Verbal hearing-impaired children. Poster session presented at the Biennial Convention of the A. G. Bell Association for the Deaf, Washington DC.
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