Long-term growth of speech production accuracy in pediatric cochlear implant recipients with prelingual deafness




McLoughlin, Cezanne Paige

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The present study examines the effect of one factor, age at activation of cochlear implant (CI), on the rate of speech production accuracy growth for total segments, consonants, and vowels. Longitudinal data collected from speech samples of 63 prelingually deaf CI users implanted between the ages of 10 and 170 months were analyzed using a multi-level growth model to determine the rate of growth and deceleration of speech production accuracy as a function of age at CI activation. Significant effect of age of activation was found in pre-implant accuracy and initial linear rate of growth for all measures and in quadratic deceleration of growth for vowels only. Models of accuracy for children implanted at younger ages predicted more rapid initial growth. Growth trajectories for children implanted before 24 months of age were remarkably similar. The results support implantation by 24 months of age to promote speech production development during the vital period of social and academic development that occurs during the school-age years


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