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A young boy having his ears examined by a woman

Language, communication and hearing

We are world-leaders in communication development, language and hearing research. We make basic research discoveries and translate them into real-world applications.

Our research determines the factors and mechanisms involved in successful language learning and in developmental language disorders to provide evidence-based guidance for policymakers and educators.

Our research focuses on determining the factors, processes and mechanisms involved in successful language learning and in developmental language disorders.

We translate basic hearing science into direct benefit to children and adults who have a hearing dysfunction.

We are a collaborating partner in ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development and also lead the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Hearing Health theme.

Areas of research activity

  • Language and communication development
  • Developmental language disorders
  • Social communication and pragmatics
  • Hearing health
  • Audiology and deafness
Woman reading to a baby

Major projects

£9.3 million ESRC International Centre for Language and Communication Development (LuCiD)

LuCiD aims to bring about a step change in the understanding of how children learn to communicate with language, and deliver the evidence base necessary to design effective interventions in early years’ education and healthcare.

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£30 million NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), Hearing Health theme (£5m)

We aim to reduce the burden that hearing loss represents economically and to society via prevention, as well as designing and delivering effective and efficient hearing health for adults and children.

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€6.5 million EC Horizon 2020: Ears, Eyes and Mind: The 'SENSE-Cog Project'

We aim to improve mental wellbeing for elderly Europeans with sensory impairment including deafness and age-related hearing loss.

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Social Communication and Pragmatics Intervention programme (SCIP)

This NIHR-funded project investigates the effects of an intervention programme developed by the Manchester team with the aim to gain evidence for its effectiveness, determine the factors within the child which predict success and determine what the children and their parents and teachers value about the intervention.

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Anatomical model of an inner ear

Featured researchers

Infant receiving audiology treatment at University of Manchester teaching hospital

Case study

Improving hearing screening and early intervention for deaf babies and their families

Permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) is the most common childhood sensory deficit. It is potentially devastating because of its impact on communication skills, education, emotional wellbeing and employment opportunities. Effective early intervention can minimise negative impacts.

Fifteen years of pioneering, interdisciplinary research at The University of Manchester led to the implementation of universal newborn hearing screening in England, now the NHS standard of care. To date, more than 5 million babies have been screened and more than 9,500 identified with PCHI. The median age at which a hearing aid is fitted has reduced from one year to 80 days.

Our original studies have formed the basis of newborn hearing screening and early intervention developments around the world.

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Young boy having speech and language therapy


Wendy Lamb
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 8678