The HOT (Hearing Outcomes in Teenagers) Project is a follow-up study of 120 young people with Permanent Childhood Hearing Impairment (PCHI) from a 1992-97 birth cohort born in the Greater London and Wessex regions. All of them took part in our previous study of outcome following Universal Newborn Screening (UNS) for PCHI when they were at primary school: the Hearing Outcomes Project. Half of them were the target for UNS in the newborn period, and the Hearing Outcomes Project team found that exposure to UNS was followed by benefits to language and reading in these children when they were 6-10 years old. We think that this is because the early diagnosis enabled the family to make an early choice about how best to help the child to communicate during a time when the brain may be especially sensitive to such experience.
Now the participants are teenagers, we hope to visit them all again as part of the second phase of this research, the HOT Project, with these visits taking place from January 2011. We will look at their reading, language, and communication skills to explore whether the previously demonstrated benefits of exposure to UNS are maintained in the secondary school years. We will also broaden the focus of the research to look at outcomes that are important to the families and to the teenagers themselves, including quality of life, school attainment, interpersonal relationship functioning, and social understanding.
One of the biggest challenges of this project will be to track down the teenagers who participated in the first phase of this research when they were children, so that we can offer them the opportunity to take part this time round too. The help and input of clinical and educational professionals was an integral part of the success of the Hearing Outcomes Project, and any support that you can offer to the HOT Project will be similarly invaluable.
To read more, and find out how you can get involved in the HOT Project, please visit our website: www.hotproject.org.uk
Or contact us directly: 02380 793063