Vowel Space Characteristics of Speech Directed to Children With and Without Hearing Loss Purpose This study examined vowel characteristics in adult-directed (AD) and infant-directed (ID) speech to children with hearing impairment who received cochlear implants or hearing aids compared with speech to children with normal hearing. Method Mothers' AD and ID speech to children with cochlear implants (Study 1, n = ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2015
Vowel Space Characteristics of Speech Directed to Children With and Without Hearing Loss
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth A. Wieland
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Evamarie B. Burnham
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Maria Kondaurova
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • Tonya R. Bergeson
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • Laura C. Dilley
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Laura C. Dilley: ldilley@msu.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz
    Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2015
Vowel Space Characteristics of Speech Directed to Children With and Without Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 254-267. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-13-0250
History: Received September 16, 2013 , Revised April 21, 2014 , Accepted December 27, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 254-267. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-13-0250
History: Received September 16, 2013; Revised April 21, 2014; Accepted December 27, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This study examined vowel characteristics in adult-directed (AD) and infant-directed (ID) speech to children with hearing impairment who received cochlear implants or hearing aids compared with speech to children with normal hearing.

Method Mothers' AD and ID speech to children with cochlear implants (Study 1, n = 20) or hearing aids (Study 2, n = 11) was compared with mothers' speech to controls matched on age and hearing experience. The first and second formants of vowels /i/, /ɑ/, and /u/ were measured, and vowel space area and dispersion were calculated.

Results In both studies, vowel space was modified in ID compared with AD speech to children with and without hearing loss. Study 1 showed larger vowel space area and dispersion in ID compared with AD speech regardless of infant hearing status. The pattern of effects of ID and AD speech on vowel space characteristics in Study 2 was similar to that in Study 1, but depended partly on children's hearing status.

Conclusion Given previously demonstrated associations between expanded vowel space in ID compared with AD speech and enhanced speech perception skills, this research supports a focus on vowel pronunciation in developing intervention strategies for improving speech-language skills in children with hearing impairment.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R01 DC 008581 to T. R. Bergeson. We thank members of the Rhythm, Attention, and Perception Laboratory at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and the Speech-Perception Production Lab at Michigan State University for helping in the analysis of the speech tokens. We also thank Shannon Aronjo, Erin Crask, Kabreea Dunn, Carrie Hansel, Heidi Neuburger, Brittnie Ostler, Crystal Spann, Julie Wescliff, Heather Winegard, and Neil Wright for their help in preparing materials and recording and analyzing mothers' speech.
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