Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Tonya Bergeson-Dana


Pediatric hearing loss has many spoken language learning issues that can impact parent-infant interaction. Moreover, additional disabilities are likely to increase stress, which could have cascading effects on communication. The purpose of the study was to examine interactions between mother- and father-child dyads with and without hearing loss and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and global delay. Recordings of the parents speaking with six infants in the study were analyzed: an infant with cochlear implants and ASD (low socioeconomic status, SES), two infants with cochlear implants and normal development (high SES and low SES), one infant with a cochlear implant and CMV (average SES), one infant with a cochlear implant and global delay (average SES), and one infant who was typically developing and had normal hearing (high SES). After analyzing the results for communication measures, such as vocalization attempts, turn-taking in utterances, mean-length of utterances, and type-token ratio, it was concluded that maternal and paternal interaction was negatively affected due not only to the difficulty of the hearing loss and/or additional disability, but rather due to a combination of factors, including the disability, SES, maternal and paternal education, and the home environment.