Universiteit Leiden

nl en

PhD Defence

Psychosocial Functioning in Toddlers with Moderate Hearing Loss: The Importance of Caregivers

Wednesday 31 October 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


For decades children with moderate hearing loss (MHL) were “forgotten children”. Most research focused on deaf children and the needs of children with MHL were underestimated. Children with MHL have inconsistent access to linguistic input and social-emotional experiences and that places them at risk for developmental difficulties. In the present thesis the psychosocial functioning of toddlers with moderate hearing loss was examined within the context of the caregiving environment. No risk factors were found in the parent-child affective domain: Toddlers with MHL were affected by the emotions of others, they were affectively available to their parents and their parents to them, and their parents did not feel more parental stress than parents of toddlers without hearing loss. Challenges were found in the domain of meaningful social interactions: Toddlers with MHL had more difficulties in understanding the intentions of others and exchanged fewer social-communicative signals. The episodes of joint engagement during parent-child interactions were briefer and parents used less rich language during these interactions than parents of toddlers without hearing loss. To overcome these challenges parents could read storybooks with their children. An interactive reading programme for parents of toddlers with hearing loss showed to be effective in increasing joint engagement.


  • Prof. C. Rieffe
  • Prof. J.H.M. Frijns


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

This website uses cookies.  More information.