Evidence for the Effectiveness of Auditory-Verbal Therapy

Dimity Dornan photo

This week’s post is written by my good friend and colleague Dimity Dornan. Dr. Dornan is the Executive Director and Founder of Hear and Say, an auditory verbal center in Brisbane, Australia. Her degrees and certifications are as follows: AO, Associate Professor UQ, PhD UQ, HonDUniv USQ, BSpThy, FSPAA, CpSp, LSLS Cert AVT

 

Auditory-Verbal Therapy has been shown to be effective for developing listening and spoken language for children with hearing loss (Dornan, et al., 2010). To maximize listening and spoken language development, children with hearing loss require optimal amplification in combination with specialised listening and spoken language early intervention. Amplification alone does not allow for optimal spoken language development (Wilkins & Ertmer, 2002).

In Auditory-Verbal Therapy, parents are valued members of the early intervention team. In partnership with the Auditory-Verbal Therapist, parents are guided and coached to facilitate their child’s spoken language development through listening.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy successfully develops the listening and spoken language of children with hearing loss by stimulating auditory brain development, enabling children to make meaning of what they hear and laying down neural pathways for speech and language development (AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language 2013; Chermak et al, 2007; Cole & Flexer, 2007). Learning through listening is the most effective way of developing spoken language, cognition and literacy skills (Cole & Flexer, 2007). Auditory-Verbal Therapy, with its foundation in teaching through listening, has been proven to be most effective in developing the spoken language and educational outcomes of children with hearing loss.

In Auditory-Verbal Therapy, parents are valued members of the early intervention team. In partnership with the Auditory-Verbal Therapist, parents are guided and coached to facilitate their child’s spoken language development through listening.

 

kids whisperingResearch shows that children with hearing loss in an Auditory-Verbal Therapy program:

 • Graduated with no gap between their chronological and language ages and developed spoken language in line with normally hearing peers (Constantinescu, Dornan, Rushbrooke, Brown, McGovern, Close, Hickson & Waite, In review; Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, & Houston, 2007, 2009; Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, Houston, & Constantinescu, 2010; Fulcher, Purcell, Baker, & Munro, 2012; Hogan, Stoke, White, Tyszkiewicz, & Woolgar, 2008; Rhoades & Chisolm, 2000).

  • Made, on average, 12 months’ progress in 12 months for their spoken language development, which is in line with expectations for children with normal hearing (Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, & Houston, 2007, 2009; Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, Houston, & Constantinescu, 2010; Rhoades & Chisolm, 2000).
  • Progressed at the same rate for spoken language, self-esteem, reading and mathematics as a matched group of children with normal hearing (Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, Houston, & Constantinescu, 2010).
  • Achieved age-appropriate spoken language as early as 6 months after amplification and around 12 months of age – when identified at birth and fitted with optimal amplification and enrolled in Auditory-Verbal Therapy before 12 months of age (Constantinescu, Waite, Dornan, Rushbrooke, Brown, Close, & McGovern, submitted).
  • Performed better for spoken language and listening than a matched group of children in an Auditory-Oral (listening and lip reading), or Bilingual-Bicultural program (AUSLAN and written English) by 3 years of cochlear implant use (Dettman, Wall, Constantinescu, & Dowell, 2013).
  • Achieved comparable social inclusion outcomes to normally hearing peers (Constantinescu, Phillips, Davis, Dornan, & Hogan, In review).
  • At 3 and 4 years of age, speech production results showed that:

(1) All children produced single phonemes + clusters following typical developmental patterns.

(2) All children had increased their inventory for consonant clusters from 3  to 4 years of age.

(3) The number and type clusters produced were at least in the average range when compared to normative data.

 

References:

AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language. (2013). The AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language. See

http://www.listeningandspokenlanguage.org/AGBellAcademy/ (last checked 1 Jan 2013).

Chermak, G., Bellis, T., & Musiek, F. (2007). Neurobiology, cognitive science and intervention. In G. Chermak & F. Musiek (Eds.), Handbook of (central) auditory processing disorder: Vol. 2. Comprehensive intervention (pp. 3-28). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

Cole, E., & Flexer, C. (2007). Children with hearing loss: Developing listening and talking birth to six. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

Constantinescu, G., Phillips, R., Davis, A., Dornan, D., & Hogan, A. (In review). Benchmarking social inclusion for children with hearing loss in listening and spoken language early intervention.

Constantinescu, G., Waite, M., Dornan, D., Rushbrooke, E., Brown, J., Close, L., & McGovern, J. (In review). Outcomes of an Auditory-Verbal Therapy program for young children with hearing loss.

Dettman, S., Wall, E., Constantinescu, G., & Dowell, R. (2013). Communication outcomes for groups of children using cochlear implants enrolled in Auditory-Verbal, Aural-Oral, and Bilingual-Bicultural early intervention programs. Otology & Neurotology, 34, 451-459.

Dornan, D., Hickson, L., Murdoch, B., & Houston, T. (2007). Outcomes of an Auditory-Verbal program for children with hearing loss: A comparative study with a matched group of children with typical hearing. The Volta Review, 107, 37-54.

Dornan, D., Hickson, L., Murdoch, B., & Houston, T. (2009). Longitudinal study of speech and language for children with hearing loss in Auditory-Verbal Therapy programs. The Volta Review, 109, 61-85.

Dornan, D., Hickson, L., Murdoch, B., Houston, T., & Constantinescu, G. (2010). Is Auditory-Verbal Therapy effective for children with hearing loss? The Volta Review, 110, 361-387.

Fulcher, A., Purcell, A.A., Baker, E., & Munro, N. (2012). Listen up: Children with early identified hearing loss achieve age-appropriate speech/language outcomes by 3 years-of-age. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 76, 1785-1794.

Fulcher, A., Baker, E., Purcell, A., & Munro, N. (2014). Typical consonant cluster acquisition in auditory-verbal children with early-identified severe/profound hearing loss. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(1), 69–81.

Hogan, S., Stoke, J., White, C., Tyszkiewicz, E., & Woolgar, A. (2008). An evaluation of AVT using rate of early language development as an outcome measure. Deafness and Education International, 10(3), 143-167.

Rhoades, E.A., & Chisolm, T.H. (2000). Global language progress with an Auditory-Verbal approach for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Volta Review, 102, 5-24.

Wilkins, M., & Ertmer, D. (2002). Introducing young children who are deaf or hard of hearing to spoken language: Child’s Voice, an Oral School. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 33(3), 198-204.

 

 

About Jane Madell

Jane Madell has a consulting practice in pediatric audiology. She is an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and LSLS auditory verbal therapist, with a BA from Emerson College and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her 45+ years experience ranges from Deaf Nursery programs to positions at the League for the Hard of Hearing (Director), Long Island College Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as director of the Hearing and Learning Center and Cochlear Implant Center. Jane has taught at the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, Downstate Medical School, and Albert Einstein Medical School, published 5 books, and written numerous books chapters and journal articles, and is a well known international lecturer.