Characteristics of the Transition to Spoken Words in Two Young Cochlear Implant Recipients PurposeThis investigation addressed two main questions: (a) How do toddlers' spoken utterances change during the first year of cochlear implant (CI) use? and (b) How do the time-courses for reaching spoken word milestones after implant activation compare with those reported for typically developing children? These questions were explored to increase ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2009
Characteristics of the Transition to Spoken Words in Two Young Cochlear Implant Recipients
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David J. Ertmer
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Kelli J. Inniger
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: David J. Ertmer, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1353. E-mail: dertmer@purdue.edu.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   December 01, 2009
Characteristics of the Transition to Spoken Words in Two Young Cochlear Implant Recipients
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1579-1594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/06-0145)
History: Received August 16, 2006 , Revised July 13, 2007 , Accepted February 9, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1579-1594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/06-0145)
History: Received August 16, 2006; Revised July 13, 2007; Accepted February 9, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

PurposeThis investigation addressed two main questions: (a) How do toddlers' spoken utterances change during the first year of cochlear implant (CI) use? and (b) How do the time-courses for reaching spoken word milestones after implant activation compare with those reported for typically developing children? These questions were explored to increase understanding of early semantic development in children who receive CIs before their second birthdays.

MethodsMonthly recordings of mother-child interactions were gathered during the first year of CI use by a boy and a girl whose CIs were activated at 11 and 21 months of age, respectively. Child utterances were classified as nonwords, pre-words, single words, or word combinations, and the percentages of these utterance types were calculated for each month. Data were compared to published findings for typically developing children for the number of months of robust hearing (i.e., auditory access to conversational speech) needed to reach spoken word milestones and the chronological ages at which milestones were achieved.

ResultsThe main findings were that the percentages of nonwords and pre-words decreased as single words and word combinations increased. Both children achieved most spoken word milestones with fewer months of robust hearing experience than reported for typically developing children; the youngest recipient achieved more milestones within typical age ranges than the child implanted later in life.

ConclusionsThe children’s expeditious gains in spoken word development appeared to be facilitated by interactions among their pre-implant hearing experiences; their relatively advanced physical, cognitive, and social maturity; participation in intervention programs; and the introduction of robust hearing within the Utterance Acquisition phase of language development according to the neurolingusitic theory (J. Locke, 1997).

Acknowledgments
This research project was supported through grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (1R030DC04226-03 and R01DC007863). We are especially grateful to the children and families who participated in the study. A special thank you is extended to Leeann Schwartz for her help with reliability measures. The insightful suggestions of Karen Kirk, Mary Pat Moeller, Robert Novak, and David Snow on earlier versions of this article are gratefully acknowledged.
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