Spoken language deficits in children with hearing loss early in life are attributed to auditory speech perception limitations. It is assumed that hearing following cochlear implants (CIs) will improve these language deficits. However, the studies have shown that although cochlear implantation does improve the deficits, it does not do so to a varying extent, i.e. it does not improve in all deaf children and not to the same extent in all the children. This paper addresses the following factors: the extent to which the linguistic abilities of the children with CIs differs compared with hard of hearing (HoH) children as well as children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in relation to their age; factors underlying the linguistic abilities of the children; and the extent to which the underlying factors influence linguistic profiles in the three groups. The study found that HoH and SLI peers outperformed the children with CIs on almost all linguistic abilities. The linguistic profile of children with SLI differed considerably to the profiles of children with CI and those with HoH. The spoken language problem in children with CI manifests as limited auditory perception rather than as language processing impairment. The study found that there was a small subgroup of children with SLI with linguistic profile resembling that of children with CI. This paper provides insight into the spoken language impairment in three different groups of children.