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RIT/NTID awarded $2.6 million grant

The National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has awarded Rochester Institute of Technology with $2.6 million to study language outcomes for young adults who are deaf, officials said Tuesday.

The grant is for a five-year period and the study is the first of its kind.

“I’m proud to announce this major federal award for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “This five-year award will be used to launch the first-of-its-kind study examining language outcomes in young deaf adults. This investment from the National Institutes of Health will help ensure the world’s first technological college for deaf students continues leading the way in helping students in Monroe County and across the country.”

Two to three out of every 1,000 children born in the United States are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the NIDCD.

“For many of these children, a cochlear implant has permitted access to spoken language,” said Matthew Dye, an RIT/NTID researcher who is leading the grant. “However, what is perhaps most striking about spoken language outcomes following cochlear implantation is the variability.”

The research will be one of the first large-scale studies to examine spoken language outcomes in young deaf adults who received their implants in childhood and are enrolled at RIT/NTID, officials said.

Dye will work with researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“The overall aim of this project is to examine the effects of auditory development, cognitive function and multimodal language outcomes in a large group of young deaf adults,” Dye said. “The results of this study will provide much-needed and timely answers regarding the possible benefits of early cochlear implantation and early intervention with sign language that parents and policy makers seek as they determine how best to intervene with the next generation of deaf infants who are cochlear implant recipients or candidates.”

Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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