Article  |   February 2012
Perception of Speech Features by French-Speaking Children With Cochlear Implants
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sophie Bouton
    Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France
  • Willy Serniclaes
    Paris-Descartes University, Paris, France
  • Josiane Bertoncini
    Paris-Descartes University, Paris, France
  • Pascale Colé
    Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   February 2012
Perception of Speech Features by French-Speaking Children With Cochlear Implants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2012, Vol.55, 139-153. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0330)
History: Accepted 01 Jun 2011 , Received 25 Nov 2010
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2012, Vol.55, 139-153. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0330)
History: Accepted 01 Jun 2011 , Received 25 Nov 2010

Purpose: The present study investigates the perception of phonological features in French-speaking children with cochlear implants (CIs) compared with normal-hearing (NH) children matched for listening age.

Method: Scores for discrimination and identification of minimal pairs for all features defining consonants (e.g., place, voicing, manner, nasality) and vowels (e.g., frontness, nasality, aperture) were measured in each listener.

Results: The results indicated no differences in “categorical perception,” specified as a similar difference between discrimination and identification between CI children and controls. However, CI children demonstrated a lower level of “categorical precision,” that is, lesser accuracy in both feature identification and discrimination, than NH children, with the magnitude of the deficit depending on the feature.

Conclusions: If sensitive periods of language development extend well beyond the moment of implantation, the consequences of hearing deprivation for the acquisition of categorical perception should be fairly important in comparison to categorical precision because categorical precision develops more slowly than categorical perception in NH children. These results do not support the idea that the sensitive period for development of categorical perception is restricted to the first 1–2 years of life. The sensitive period may be significantly longer. Differences in precision may reflect the acoustic limitations of the cochlear implant, such as coding for temporal fine structure and frequency resolution.

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