Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has spoken of being "taken aback" by the results of a new study looking at educational difficulties experienced by school kids with hearing problems.
Research carried out in the US, which is said to be an indication of the universal disadvantages experienced by deaf youngsters, shows many leave school at 18 with a reading age of nine, the Irish Times reports.
Meanwhile, numeracy levels reflect those of a ten to 12-year-old child, with these findings apparent despite those with hearing issues having normal intelligence.
Ms Fitzgerald claimed to have found the research "upsetting" and reinforced a recent message about the government's plans to support early intervention and educational provisions for deaf youngsters.
Her comments follow the National Council for Special Education's (NCSE's) new paper announcing the further roll-out of a universal national programme of newborn hearing screening.
The NCSE aims to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs.