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Current Research Projects

Toward Understanding the Consequences of Mild Bilateral and Unilateral Hearing Loss in Children.
E. Fitzpatrick, A. Durieux-Smith, I. Gaboury, & D. Coyle.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research-CIHR.
The purpose of this multicentre study is to examine the impact of mild bilateral/unilateral hearing loss (HL) on children and the family in the preschool years. Assessments are conducted annually from age 1 to 4 years and include auditory questionnaires, speech-language assessments and language samples. Interviews regarding parents’ experiences, their needs and perceptions of their child’s functioning are also being completed. Based on the interview data, a conjoint analysis will be conducted to further identify parent preferences for services. In a related project, we are conducting a survey with audiologists to examine amplification recommendations for this population of children. We are currently inviting families to participate in this study - read more.

Towards Understanding the Effects of Mild Bilateral and Unilateral Hearing Loss on Children in the Early School Years.
E. Fitzpatrick. Funding: Ontario Ministry of Industry and Innovation Early Researcher Award.

The proposed research builds on the CIHR study investigating the effects of mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss on children’s development during the pre-school years. The planned study will extend this current research project to examine the impact of mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss at school age (5 to 8 years) as well as the needs of parents. Child assessments will quantify the impact of mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss on auditory, communication, early literacy and academic skills. Parent interviews will explore the impact of mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss from the perspective of parents. We are currently inviting families for participation - read more.

Does Sign Language Facilitate Spoken Language Development in Children with Early-Identified Hearing Loss?
E. Fitzpatrick, D. Moher and Knowledge User Team – A. Bernstein, D. Neuss & S. Doucet.

Funding: CIHR
We are conducting a rigorous systematic review to synthesize the literature on the effects of sign language on spoken language development in young children. We are working with systematic review experts from the Centre for Evidence-Based Practice at the Ottawa Health Research Institute to locate, critically evaluate and summarize the literature. Three knowledge users representing parents (Voice) and different agencies will play a key role and provide input related to data to be extracted from the studies and particularly in knowledge dissemination.
A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Auditory-Verbal Therapy.
E. Fitzpatrick and Marie-France Perrier (Speech-language pathology student).
The implementation of newborn hearing screening programs, coupled with advances in in hearing technologies including cochlear implants, has led to increased interest in the use of Auditory-Verbal Therapy to develop spoken language in children with hearing loss. This systematic review aims to examine the effectiveness of auditory-verbal therapy through an appraisal and synthesis of published literature since 1995. We will summarize speech, language, and related areas of outcome for children who have participated in auditory-verbal therapy during the preschool years.

A Systematic Review of the Impact of ‘Baby Sign’ on Children’s Communication Development.
E. Fitzpatrick and Jonelle Thibert (Speech-language pathology student).

In recent years, the use of Baby Sign has been widely advocated to enhance communication skills in young children. This systematic review aims to summarize the effects of Baby Sign in the areas of language acquisition and parent-child interaction in young children under the age of 36 months who have normal hearing and typical development.

The Feasibility of Language Environment Analysis (LENA) within the Home for Children with Hearing Loss.
E. Fitzpatrick, C. Charron (student) & CHEO AVT clinicians.

This pilot study will be conducted to explore the overall feasibility of conducting a study with parents and children using the LENA device. The LENA system allows researcher to collect extensive language samples in the home, and through specialized software, provides an analysis of the child`s learning environment (e.g., parent vocal turns; TV, etc.), as well as vocalizations and speech productions of children. At this stage, we are interested in investigating the practicality for parents, e.g. how easy is it for parents to use, and whether the LENA device is worn during a 10-12 hour recording period.

Outcomes in Early-Identified Children who received Auditory-Verbal Intervention Services.
E. Fitzpatrick, A. Bernstein and C. Bédard (student).

This study, a partnership between Voice and the University of Ottawa, aims to retrospectively examine outcomes for a group of 29+ children who were early identified through the Infant Hearing Program (after 2002), and who received auditory-verbal intervention through VOICE. The primary outcome measure available for analysis is the Preschool Language Scale. To the extent possible with the information available through clinical chart data, we will examine factors that affect spoken language.
Collaborative Projects with other researchers:

Development of the Children’s Hospital (Eastern Ontario) Inventory of Skills in Audition, Language and Speech (CHISALS) – Part 2
D. Neuss, E. Fitzpatrick, et al.
Funding: CHEO Research Institute
The purpose of this study is to further develop the (Children’s Hospital (of Eastern Ontario) Inventory of Skills in Audition, Language and Speech-CHISALS) instrument through expert-based focus groups and initial in-the-field testing. The CHISALS is intended for children age 0 to 3 years with cochlear implants and aims to determine whether the child`s audition, speech and language development is ‘on track’. The longer-term goal is to develop auditory and spoken language performance benchmarks for young children with cochlear implants. Planning for field work stage is moving forward.

Economic Analysis of Bilateral Cochlear Implantation in Children: The Value of a Second Cochlear Implant. D. Schramm, D. Coyle, E. Fitzpatrick, et al.
Funding: CHEO Dept. of Surgery
The goal of this research is to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of providing bilateral cochlear implants for children from a Canadian perspective. Children who meet the inclusion criteria will be enrolled following the clinical candidacy evaluation for a second implant surgery. Enrolment started late in 2011 and will continue until 15 families are enrolled.

Speech Production and Intelligibility in Children with Cochlear Implants.
L. Moran, E. Fitzpatrick, and colleagues from the University of Quebec in Montreal.
The goal of this project is to explore speech production and speech intelligibility in children with cochlear implants using new techniques in articulatory measurement systems, such as ultrasound and audio-visual movement tracking. The purpose is to explore what accounts for different levels of speech intelligibility.
Hearing Loss Video Clips 
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