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Authors Grieco-Calub TM, Saffran JR, Litovsky RY
Author Profile(s)
Journal J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. Volume: 52 Issue: 6 Pages: 1390-400
Publish Date 2009 Dec
PubMed ID 19951921
PMC ID 2873612

The purpose of this study was to assess the time course of spoken word recognition in 2-year-old children who use cochlear implants (CIs) in quiet and in the presence of speech competitors.Children who use CIs and age-matched peers with normal acoustic hearing listened to familiar auditory labels, in quiet or in the presence of speech competitors, while their eye movements to target objects were digitally recorded. Word recognition performance was quantified by measuring each child’s reaction time (i.e., the latency between the spoken auditory label and the first look at the target object) and accuracy (i.e., the amount of time that children looked at target objects within 367 ms to 2,000 ms after the label onset).Children with CIs were less accurate and took longer to fixate target objects than did age-matched children without hearing loss. Both groups of children showed reduced performance in the presence of the speech competitors, although many children continued to recognize labels at above-chance levels.The results suggest that the unique auditory experience of young CI users slows the time course of spoken word recognition abilities. In addition, real-world listening environments may slow language processing in young language learners, regardless of their hearing status.

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