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Permanent congenital hearing impairment (PCHI) >40 dB HL in the better ear deprives children of language input necessary for speech and language development. When detected early by universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) programmes, quickly followed by interventions to improve hearing, then speech and language, have better chances of developing normally.1 Reading ability reflects language development, and is essential for academic and employment prospects. Children who cannot hear find learning to read difficult without being able to recognise the sounds associated with written words.
A small, but representative sample of the original British cohort published earlier by the same authors2 was enrolled …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.