Verbal learning and memory in prelingually deaf children with cochlear implants

William G. Kronenberger, Shirley C. Henning, Allison M. Ditmars, Adrienne S. Roman, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) show poorer verbal working memory compared to normal-hearing (NH) peers, but little is known about their verbal learning and memory (VLM) processes involving multi-trial free recall. Design: Children with CIs were compared to NH peers using the California Verbal Learning Test for Children (CVLT-C). Study sample: Participants were 21 deaf (before age 6 months) children (6–16 years old) implanted prior to age 3 years, and 21 age-IQ matched NH peers. Results: Results revealed no differences between groups in number of words recalled. However, CI users showed a pattern of increasing use of serial clustering strategies across learning trials, whereas NH peers decreased their use of serial clustering strategies. In the CI sample (but not in the NH sample), verbal working memory test scores were related to resistance to the build-up of proactive interference, and sentence recognition was associated with performance on the first exposure to the word list and to the use of recency recall strategies. Conclusions: Children with CIs showed robust evidence of VLM comparable to NH peers. However, their VLM processing (especially recency and proactive interference) was related to speech perception outcomes and verbal WM in different ways from NH peers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-754
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2018


  • Deafness
  • cochlear implant
  • learning
  • memory
  • speech perception
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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