Verbal Working Memory in Children With Cochlear Implants Purpose Verbal working memory in children with cochlear implants and children with normal hearing was examined. Participants Ninety-three fourth graders (47 with normal hearing, 46 with cochlear implants) participated, all of whom were in a longitudinal study and had working memory assessed 2 years earlier. Method ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
Verbal Working Memory in Children With Cochlear Implants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Nittrouer
    The University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Amanda Caldwell-Tarr
    The University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Keri E. Low
    The University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Joanna H. Lowenstein
    The University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 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: snittrouer@ufl.edu
  • Amanda Caldwell-Tarr is now at Comprehensive Health Insights, Louisville, KY.
    Amanda Caldwell-Tarr is now at Comprehensive Health Insights, Louisville, KY.×
  • Keri E. Low is now at Capital Region Medical Center, Jefferson City, MO.
    Keri E. Low is now at Capital Region Medical Center, Jefferson City, MO.×
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald
    Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
Verbal Working Memory in Children With Cochlear Implants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3342-3364. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0474
History: Received December 30, 2016 , Revised March 29, 2017 , Accepted July 3, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3342-3364. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0474
History: Received December 30, 2016; Revised March 29, 2017; Accepted July 3, 2017

Purpose Verbal working memory in children with cochlear implants and children with normal hearing was examined.

Participants Ninety-three fourth graders (47 with normal hearing, 46 with cochlear implants) participated, all of whom were in a longitudinal study and had working memory assessed 2 years earlier.

Method A dual-component model of working memory was adopted, and a serial recall task measured storage and processing. Potential predictor variables were phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, nonverbal IQ, and several treatment variables. Potential dependent functions were literacy, expressive language, and speech-in-noise recognition.

Results Children with cochlear implants showed deficits in storage and processing, similar in size to those at second grade. Predictors of verbal working memory differed across groups: Phonological awareness explained the most variance in children with normal hearing; vocabulary explained the most variance in children with cochlear implants. Treatment variables explained little of the variance. Where potentially dependent functions were concerned, verbal working memory accounted for little variance once the variance explained by other predictors was removed.

Conclusions The verbal working memory deficits of children with cochlear implants arise due to signal degradation, which limits their abilities to acquire phonological awareness. That hinders their abilities to store items using a phonological code.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC006237 to Susan Nittrouer.
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