Weighting of Acoustic Cues to a Manner Distinction by Children With and Without Hearing Loss Purpose Children must develop optimal perceptual weighting strategies for processing speech in their first language. Hearing loss can interfere with that development, especially if cochlear implants are required. The three goals of this study were to measure, for children with and without hearing loss: (a) cue weighting for a manner ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
Weighting of Acoustic Cues to a Manner Distinction by Children With and Without Hearing Loss
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Nittrouer
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Joanna H. Lowenstein
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • 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 Susan Nittrouer: nittrouer.1@osu.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Karen Kirk
    Associate Editor: Karen Kirk×
Article Information
Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
Weighting of Acoustic Cues to a Manner Distinction by Children With and Without Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 1077-1092. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0263
History: Received September 19, 2014 , Revised December 19, 2014 , Accepted March 10, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 1077-1092. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0263
History: Received September 19, 2014; Revised December 19, 2014; Accepted March 10, 2015

Purpose Children must develop optimal perceptual weighting strategies for processing speech in their first language. Hearing loss can interfere with that development, especially if cochlear implants are required. The three goals of this study were to measure, for children with and without hearing loss: (a) cue weighting for a manner distinction, (b) sensitivity to those cues, and (c) real-world communication functions.

Method One hundred and seven children (43 with normal hearing [NH], 17 with hearing aids [HAs], and 47 with cochlear implants [CIs]) performed several tasks: labeling of stimuli from /bɑ/-to-/wɑ/ continua varying in formant and amplitude rise time (FRT and ART), discrimination of ART, word recognition, and phonemic awareness.

Results Children with hearing loss were less attentive overall to acoustic structure than children with NH. Children with CIs, but not those with HAs, weighted FRT less and ART more than children with NH. Sensitivity could not explain cue weighting. FRT cue weighting explained significant amounts of variability in word recognition and phonemic awareness; ART cue weighting did not.

Conclusion Signal degradation inhibits access to spectral structure for children with CIs, but cannot explain their delayed development of optimal weighting strategies. Auditory training could strengthen the weighting of spectral cues for children with CIs, thus aiding spoken language acquisition.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC006237, awarded to Susan Nittrouer. The authors thank Taylor Wucinich and Demarcus Williams for their help in data collection.
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