Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2017 April; 72(4): 213-217.

Copyright © 2017 CLINICS

Association between language and hearing disorders – risk identification

Alessandra Giannella Samelli * , Silmara Rondon-Melo , Camila Maia Rabelo , Daniela Regina Molini-Avejonas

Disciplina de Fonoaudiologia, Departamento de Fisioterapia, Fonoaudiologia e Terapia Ocupacional, Faculdade de Medicina (FMUSP), Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP, BR

*Corresponding author. E-mail:

received September 13, 2016; revised October 18, 2016; accepted December 13, 2016.



To identify children at risk for hearing and/or language disorders and to investigate the association between these risks by conducting pre-validated hearing and language screenings.


The study was conducted during a polio vaccination campaign in August of 2013 in basic health units in western São Paulo. Parents of children between 2 and 5 years of age were asked to complete two screening tools: a hearing questionnaire (regarding hearing development) and a language production and comprehension scale (including the major language development milestones). The screening tools were administered by different researchers. We compared the risk of having language disorders among children at risk for hearing loss versus children not at risk, as well as the attributable risk and odds ratios. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression analyses were used.


The study included 479 children with a mean age of three and one-half years, of whom 26.9% were identified as at risk for deficits in language production, 8.6% were at risk for deficits in language comprehension and 14% were at risk for hearing disorders. The children at risk for hearing disorders were twice as likely as those not at risk to exhibit language production and comprehension deficits.


The results of this study highlight the importance of establishing and adopting low-cost procedures such as screenings to identify children at risk of developing language and/or hearing disorders in early childhood.

Keywords: Language Disorders, Hearing Disorders, Risk Assessment

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