Speech perception skills in cochlear-implant users are often measured with simple speech materials. In children, it is crucial to fully characterize linguistic development, and this requires linguistically more meaningful materials. The authors propose using the comprehension of reflexives and pronouns, as these specific skills are acquired at different ages. According to the literature, normal-hearing children show adult-like comprehension of reflexives at age 5, while their comprehension of pronouns only reaches adult-like levels around age 10. To provide normative data, a group of younger children (5 to 8 yrs old), older children (10 and 11 yrs old), and adults were tested under conditions without or with spectral degradation, which simulated cochlear-implant speech transmission with four and eight channels. The results without degradation confirmed the different ages of acquisition of reflexives and pronouns. Adding spectral degradation reduced overall performance; however, it did not change the general pattern observed with non-degraded speech. This finding confirms that these linguistic milestones can also be measured with cochlear-implanted children, despite the reduced quality of sound transmission. Thus, the results of the study have implications for clinical practice, as they could contribute to setting realistic expectations and therapeutic goals for children who receive a cochlear implant.
Perception of spectrally degraded reflexives and pronouns by children
Deniz Başkent, Jacolien van Rij, Zheng Yen Ng, Rolien Free, Petra Hendriks; Perception of spectrally degraded reflexives and pronouns by children. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 November 2013; 134 (5): 3844–3852. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4824341
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