Word learning in deaf children with cochlear implants: Effects of early auditory experience

Derek M. Houston, Jessica Stewart, Aaron Moberly, George Hollich, Richard T. Miyamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Word-learning skills were tested in normal-hearing 12- to 40-month-olds and in deaf 22- to 40-month-olds 12 to 18months after cochlear implantation. Using the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm (IPLP), children were tested for their ability to learn two novel-word/novel-object pairings. Normal-hearing children demonstrated learning on this task at approximately 18months of age and older. For deaf children, performance on this task was significantly correlated with early auditory experience: Children whose cochlear implants were switched on by 14months of age or who had relatively more hearing before implantation demonstrated learning in this task, but later implanted profoundly deaf children did not. Performance on this task also correlated with later measures of vocabulary size. Taken together, these findings suggest that early auditory experience facilitates word learning and that the IPLP may be useful for identifying children who may be at high risk for poor vocabulary development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-461
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Word learning in deaf children with cochlear implants: Effects of early auditory experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this