DOI: 10.1044/2023_jslhr-23-00084 ISSN:

Story Generation and Narrative Retells in Children Who Are Hard of Hearing and Hearing Children

Elizabeth A. Walker, Melody Harrison, Rachel Baumann, Mary Pat Moeller, Eldon Sorensen, Jacob J. Oleson, Ryan W. McCreery
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


The primary goal for this study was to compare story generation and narrative retell performance in children who are hard of hearing (CHH) and hearing children. A secondary goal was to determine factors that influence narrative performance. Research on this topic is important because narrative language competency is an essential communication function.


Participants included 86 CHH and 53 seven-year-old hearing children who had completed a test battery composed of vocabulary, grammar, phonological processing, story generation, and narrative retell tasks. Coders who were blind to hearing status used a scoring rubric to judge the quality of narrative macrostructure in story generation and narrative retells. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance to determine group differences and correlational models to examine individual differences.


At 7 years of age, CHH demonstrated significant deficits in narrative macrostructure compared to hearing children, with larger delays in narrative retell than story generation. Vocabulary, grammar, and phonological memory acted as mediators in the relationship between hearing status and story generation; grammar acted as a mediator between hearing status and narrative retell. Auditory access variables accounted for a significant proportion of shared variance in story generation skills for CHH.


School-age CHH are at risk for delays in narrative production, particularly with retelling stories. The results of this study highlight a narrative coding approach and task procedures that are sensitive to differences in language levels and may be clinically useful for professionals working with early school-age children.

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