Speech and language outcomes of very preterm infants

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2014 Apr;19(2):78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Nov 23.


Speech and language impairments of both simple and complex language functions are common among former preterm infants. Risk factors include lower gestational age and increasing illness severity including severe brain injury. Even in the absence of brain injury, however, altered brain maturation and vulnerability imposed by premature entrance to the extrauterine environment is associated with brain structural and microstructural changes. These alterations are associated with language impairments with lasting effects in childhood and adolescence and increased needs for speech therapy and education supports. Studies are needed to investigate language interventions which begin in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Keywords: Brain; Hearing loss; Language; Preterm infant; Very low birth weight infant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Extremely Premature*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Language Development Disorders / therapy*
  • Language Development*
  • Language*
  • Speech Therapy
  • Speech*