Speech Production as a Measure of Hearing Aid Benefit in Infants and Young Children With Hearing Loss It is well known that congenital hearing loss or hearing loss acquired at an early age represents a major hindrance to speech development (for review, see Pratt & Tye-Murray, 1997; Pratt, 2005). The first few years of life are critical for learning speech, and speech development can be irreversibly ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2007
Speech Production as a Measure of Hearing Aid Benefit in Infants and Young Children With Hearing Loss
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sheila R. Pratt
    Department of Communication Science & Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Kelly Schnoor
    Department of Communication Science & Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Melissa Friedman
    Department of Communication Science & Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2007
Speech Production as a Measure of Hearing Aid Benefit in Infants and Young Children With Hearing Loss
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, March 2007, Vol. 17, 15-20. doi:10.1044/hhdc17.1.15
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, March 2007, Vol. 17, 15-20. doi:10.1044/hhdc17.1.15
It is well known that congenital hearing loss or hearing loss acquired at an early age represents a major hindrance to speech development (for review, see Pratt & Tye-Murray, 1997; Pratt, 2005). The first few years of life are critical for learning speech, and speech development can be irreversibly compromised if hearing is impaired during this period (Colletti et al., 2005). Various researchers have studied the development of speech in infants and young children with hearing loss by comparing their performance to that of normal hearing children. Much of this work has been devoted to the assessment of early vocalizations and babbling (Kent, Osberger, Netsell, & Hustedde, 1987; Obenchain, Menn, & Yoshinaga-Itano, 1998; Oller & Eilers, 1988; Stoel-Gammon, 1988; Stoel-Gammon & Otomo, 1986; von Hapsburg & Davis 2006; Wallace, Menn, & Yoshinaga-Itano, 1998). Similarities have been noted with regard to the development of cooing, squealing, and early vowel production. Differences, however, are more apparent in the development of babbling, particularly canonical babbling. For example, infants with normal hearing commonly begin babbling by 6–10 months of age, whereas infants with hearing impairment frequently do not babble until 11–25 months of age (Oller & Eilers; Oller, Eilers, Bull, & Carney, 1985; Wallace, Menn, & Yoshinaga-Itano). Furthermore, the frequency of speech output, the speech-sound inventory, and the complexity of the babbles are more limited in infants with hearing loss than those with normal hearing; although speech-sound inventory used during the emergence of early language is more predictive of later speech intelligibility than is babbling (Obenchain et al.). Also critical is that the acoustic integrity of their productions typically is affected, especially in those infants and children with severe to profound hearing loss. For example, fundamental frequency (f0) tends to be elevated and vowel space more restricted than in children with normal hearing. In addition, consonants frequently are omitted, distorted, or produced with less precision, and co-articulation is poorly controlled.
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