The Effect of Hearing Loss on the Perception of Infant- and Adult-Directed Speech PurposeInfant-directed speech (IDS) facilitates language learning in infants with normal hearing, compared to adult-directed speech (ADS). It is well established that infants with normal hearing prefer to listen to IDS over ADS. The purpose of this study was to determine whether infants with hearing impairment (HI), like their NH peers, ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2013
The Effect of Hearing Loss on the Perception of Infant- and Adult-Directed Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susie Robertson
    University of Tennessee, Health Science Center
  • Deborah von Hapsburg
    University of Tennessee, Health Science Center
  • Jessica S. Hay
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Correspondence to Deborah von Hapsburg: dvh@utk.edu
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • Associate Editor: Lynne Werner
    Associate Editor: Lynne Werner×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   August 01, 2013
The Effect of Hearing Loss on the Perception of Infant- and Adult-Directed Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2013, Vol. 56, 1108-1119. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0110)
History: Received April 5, 2012 , Revised August 26, 2012 , Accepted December 8, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2013, Vol. 56, 1108-1119. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0110)
History: Received April 5, 2012; Revised August 26, 2012; Accepted December 8, 2012

PurposeInfant-directed speech (IDS) facilitates language learning in infants with normal hearing, compared to adult-directed speech (ADS). It is well established that infants with normal hearing prefer to listen to IDS over ADS. The purpose of this study was to determine whether infants with hearing impairment (HI), like their NH peers, show a listening preference for IDS over ADS.

MethodA total of 36 infants—9 HI infants (mean chronological age of 19.1 with mean listening age of 7.7 months), 9 NH infants with similar average listening age (7.8 months), and 9 NH infants with similar average chronological age (18.6 months)—were tested on their listening preference for IDS compared with ADS using the central fixation preference procedure.

ResultsInfants with HI significantly preferred listening to IDS over ADS. The preference for IDS was also seen in the younger NH infants, but not older NH controls. Additionally, HI infants showed shorter overall looking times as compared to either NH group.

ConclusionAlthough infants with hearing loss displayed a shorter looking time to speech compared to NH controls, HI infants nonetheless appear to have sufficient access to the speech signal to display a developmentally appropriate preference for IDS over ADS.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by a grant to the first author from the Hearing and Speech Foundation. The second and third authors were funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R03 DC-009497-01. We would like to thank all of the infants and parents who participated in this study. We would also like to thank John P. Little for his assistance in participant recruitment.
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