Are Young Children With Cochlear Implants Sensitive to the Statistics of Words in the Ambient Spoken Language? Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether children with cochlear implants (CIs) are sensitive to statistical characteristics of words in the ambient spoken language, whether that sensitivity changes in expected ways as their spoken lexicon grows, and whether that sensitivity varies with unilateral or bilateral implantation. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
Are Young Children With Cochlear Implants Sensitive to the Statistics of Words in the Ambient Spoken Language?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ling-Yu Guo
    University at Buffalo, NY
  • Karla K. McGregor
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Linda J. Spencer
    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • 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 Ling-Yu Guo: lingyugu@buffalo.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Amy Lederberg
    Associate Editor: Amy Lederberg×
Article Information
Development / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
Are Young Children With Cochlear Implants Sensitive to the Statistics of Words in the Ambient Spoken Language?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 987-1000. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0135
History: Received May 17, 2014 , Revised October 14, 2014 , Accepted January 9, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 987-1000. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0135
History: Received May 17, 2014; Revised October 14, 2014; Accepted January 9, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether children with cochlear implants (CIs) are sensitive to statistical characteristics of words in the ambient spoken language, whether that sensitivity changes in expected ways as their spoken lexicon grows, and whether that sensitivity varies with unilateral or bilateral implantation.

Method We analyzed archival data collected from the parents of 36 children who received cochlear implantation (20 unilateral, 16 bilateral) before 24 months of age. The parents reported their children's word productions 12 months after implantation using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: Words and Sentences (Fenson et al., 1993). We computed the number of words, out of 292 possible monosyllabic nouns, verbs, and adjectives, that each child was reported to say and calculated the average phonotactic probability, neighborhood density, and word frequency of the reported words.

Results Spoken vocabulary size positively correlated with average phonotactic probability and negatively correlated with average neighborhood density, but only in children with bilateral CIs.

Conclusion At 12 months postimplantation, children with bilateral CIs demonstrate sensitivity to statistical characteristics of words in the ambient spoken language akin to that reported for children with normal hearing during the early stages of lexical development. Children with unilateral CIs do not.

Acknowledgments
This research is supported in part by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5 P50 DC00242 (awarded to Bruce Gantz), and by the New Century Scholar Research Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (awarded to Ling-Yu Guo). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. We are grateful to the children who participated as well as to their parents who filled in the parent reports. We also thank J. Bruce Tomblin for granting the access to the archival data, Camille Dunn for retrieving the archival data from the database, Kayla Kuehlewind and Nicole Triscuit for processing the data, and Holly Storkel for providing advice on data coding.
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