Hearing versus listening: Attention to speech and its role in language acquisition in deaf infants with cochlear implants

Derek M. Houston, Tonya R. Bergeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The advent of cochlear implantation has provided thousands of deaf infants and children access to speech and the opportunity to learn spoken language. Whether or not deaf infants successfully learn spoken language after implantation may depend in part on the extent to which they listen to speech rather than just hear it. We explore this question by examining the role that attention to speech plays in early language development according to a prominent model of infant speech perception - Jusczyk's WRAPSA model - and by reviewing the kinds of speech input that maintains normal-hearing infants' attention. We then review recent findings suggesting that cochlear-implanted infants' attention to speech is reduced compared to normal-hearing infants and that speech input to these infants differs from input to infants with normal hearing. Finally, we discuss possible roles attention to speech may play on deaf children's language acquisition after cochlear implantation in light of these findings and predictions from Jusczyk's WRAPSA model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-25
Number of pages16
JournalLingua
Volume139
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Cochlear implants
  • Deafness
  • Infant-directed speech
  • Infants
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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