Hearing experience and receptive vocabulary development in deaf children with cochlear implants

Mary K. Fagan, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


This study investigated receptive vocabulary delay in deaf children with cochlear implants. Participants were 23 children with profound hearing loss, ages 6-14 years, who received a cochlear implant between ages 1.4 and 6 years. Duration of cochlear implant use ranged from 3.7 to 11.8 years. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT-III) data were analyzed first by examining children's errors for evidence of difficulty in specific lexical content areas, and second by calculating standard scores with reference to hearing age (HA) (i.e., chronological age [CA] - age at implantation) rather than CA. Participants showed evidence of vocabulary understanding across all PPVT-III content categories with no strong evidence of disproportionate numbers of errors in any specific content area despite below-average mean standard scores. However, whereas mean standard scores were below the test mean established for hearing children when based on CA, they were within the average range for hearing children when calculated based on HA. Thus, children's vocabulary knowledge was commensurate with years of cochlear implant experience, providing support for the role of spoken language experience in vocabulary acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-161
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Speech and Hearing

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