Auditory Sensitivity and the Prelinguistic Vocalizations of Early-Amplified Infants Purpose Vocalization development has not been studied thoroughly in infants with early-identified hearing loss who receive hearing aids in the 1st year of life. This study sought to evaluate the relationship between auditory sensitivity and prelinguistic vocalization patterns in infants during the babbling stage. Method Spontaneous vocalizations of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2006
Auditory Sensitivity and the Prelinguistic Vocalizations of Early-Amplified Infants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Deborah von Hapsburg
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Barbara L. Davis
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Deborah von Hapsburg, who is now at the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 548 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN. E-mail: dvh@utk.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2006
Auditory Sensitivity and the Prelinguistic Vocalizations of Early-Amplified Infants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2006, Vol. 49, 809-822. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/057)
History: Received November 11, 2003 , Revised June 9, 2004 , Accepted November 14, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2006, Vol. 49, 809-822. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/057)
History: Received November 11, 2003; Revised June 9, 2004; Accepted November 14, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose Vocalization development has not been studied thoroughly in infants with early-identified hearing loss who receive hearing aids in the 1st year of life. This study sought to evaluate the relationship between auditory sensitivity and prelinguistic vocalization patterns in infants during the babbling stage.

Method Spontaneous vocalizations of 15 early-identified infants with varying degrees of hearing sensitivity, from normal to profound hearing loss, were audiotaped and perceptually transcribed. Associations between the infant’s unaided pure-tone average and the following vocalizations were explored: canonical babbling ratio, percentage of utterances containing canonical syllables, canonical syllable shapes, number of syllable sequences, and consonant-onset patterns in canonical syllables.

Results Hearing sensitivity was significantly associated with the percentage of utterances containing canonical syllables, the vocalization types used in utterances, and canonical syllable shapes used by the infants.

Conclusions Auditory sensitivity contributes significantly to the emergence of babbling patterns. In addition, there is a need for continued study of the vocalizations of infants with milder forms of hearing loss, because in this study, their vocalizations were highly variable despite having received early amplification.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported in part by a dissertation grant from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas (UT) at Austin.
We would like to thank those who volunteered to participate in the study as well as the centers that participated: Sunshine Cottage, UT Child Hearing Services, and Texas Christian University. We also thank Kim Oller for his careful feedback on a previous version of this manuscript.
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