1pPP5. Deaf infants' attention to speech after cochlear implantation.

Session: Monday Afternoon, May 23

Author: Derek M. Houston
Location: Dept. of Otolaryngol., Indiana Univ., 699 Riley HospitalDr., Indianapolis, IN 46202, dmhousto@indiana.edu


[Cochlear implants can provide deaf infants access to auditory informationand the opportunity to learn spoken language. However, providing infants withaccess to auditory information does not guarantee that they will activelyattend to speech. Attending to speech may be important for early languagedevelopment. Recent work with normal hearing infants suggests that infantsattend to speech more than a similarly complex nonspeech signal at a veryyoung age [Vouloumanos Werker (2004); (2007)], and recent models of infantspeech perception propose that early attention to speech is crucial for speechperception development [Werker Curtin (2005)]. I will present work investigatingdeaf infants’ attention to speech after cochlear implantation. We foundthat deaf infants’ attention to speech, on average, increases duringthe first 6 months after cochlear implantation and that there is a high degreeof variability in attention to speech among infants with cochlear implants.We also found that attention to speech 6 months after implantation predictedspeech perception performance 2 and 4 years later. Taken together, these findingsprovide evidence that attention to speech is important for speech perceptiondevelopment and that attending to speech may be challenging for children whoexperience auditory deprivation during infancy.