Studies with Deaf Children may Help Decode Dyslexia

Nittrouer said she began to suspect the role hearing might play in
dyslexia after nearly a decade-long study involving children who were
born deaf or with profound hearing loss. “We began following this group
of over a hundred children, basically, since they were infants,”
Nittrouer said. All the children in the study got cochlear implants, which use microphones mounted just behind their ears, to capture and feed sound waves to nerves near the brain.

Through consistent testing, researchers found that the implants made a
remarkable difference in terms of childrens’ ability to hear, but
they’ve raised some intriguing questions as well. “Cochlear implants have been able to help children who are deaf
basically function as hearing children do,” said Nittrouer. “However,
once you begin to scratch the surface, you often find that children who
have cochlear implants function similarly to how children who have
dyslexia function.”

Nittrouer says that’s important because it points to the role of hearing in dyslexia