The OCHL project was designed to examine the language and auditory outcomes of infants and preschool-age children with permanent, bilateral, mild-to-severe hearing loss and to identify factors that moderate the relationship between hearing loss and longitudinal outcomes. This introductory article provides background in the form of literature review and theoretical discussion to support the goals of the study. We propose that children who are hard of hearing experience limitations in access to linguistic input, which lead to a decrease in uptake of language exposure and an overall reduction in linguistic experience. We examine three primary factors proposed to influence access: aided audibility, duration and consistency of hearing aid (HA) use, and characteristics of caregiver input.
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