Article/Report  |   December 2007
On the Robustness of Vocal Development: An Examination of Infants With Moderate-to-Severe Hearing Loss and Additional Risk Factors
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Suneeti Nathani
    The University of Georgia, Athens
  • D. Kimbrough Oller
    The University of Memphis
  • A. Rebecca Neal
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Suneeti Nathani, Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education, 564 Aderhold Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: snathani@uga.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article/Report   |   December 2007
On the Robustness of Vocal Development: An Examination of Infants With Moderate-to-Severe Hearing Loss and Additional Risk Factors
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2007, Vol. 50, 1425-1444. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/099)
History: Received September 29, 2005 , Revised April 28, 2006 , Accepted May 1, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2007, Vol. 50, 1425-1444. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/099)
History: Received September 29, 2005; Revised April 28, 2006; Accepted May 1, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 11

Purpose: Onset of canonical babbling by 10 months of age is surprisingly robust in infancy, suggesting that there must be deep biological forces that keep the development of this key vocal capability on course. This study further evaluated the robustness of canonical babbling and other aspects of prelinguistic vocal development.

Method: Longitudinal observation was conducted on 4 infants who were at risk for abnormal vocal development because of bilateral moderate-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss and additional risk factors for developmental delay.

Results: Two of the infants were delayed in the onset of canonical babbling and showed greater fluctuation in canonical babbling ratios following its onset than did typically developing infants. On the same measures, the remaining 2 infants were within normal limits, although their age of onset for canonical babbling was later than the mean for typically developing infants. Volubility was not notably different from typically developing infants. Differences from typically developing infants were, however, observed in proportions of various prelinguistic syllable types produced across time.

Conclusion: Results provided further evidence of robustness of canonical babbling and indicated the need for a large parametric study evaluating effects of varying degrees of hearing loss and other risk factors on vocal development.

Acknowledgments
This work has been supported by the following grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: Grant R01DC006099, awarded to D. K. Oller (P.I.) and Eugene Buder (co-P.I.) with a subcontract to the University of Georgia (Suneeti Nathani, P.I.), and prior Grants R01DC00484 and R01DC01932, awarded to D. K. Oller. Portions of this work were presented at the 2001 International Child Phonology Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. We also acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Jennifer Brill, Heather Olds, and Erin Reinstein in data analysis.
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