Links of Prosodic Stress Perception and Musical Activities to Language Skills of Children With Cochlear Implants and Normal Hearing

Ritva Torppa, Andrew Faulkner, Marja Laasonen, Jari Lipsanen, Daniela Sammler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: A major issue in the rehabilitation of children with cochlear implants (CIs) is unexplained variance in their language skills, where many of them lag behind children with normal hearing (NH). Here we assess links between generative language skills and the perception of prosodic stress, and with musical and parental activities in children with CIs and NH. Understanding these links is expected to guide future research and towards supporting language development in children with a CI.
Method: 21 unilaterally and early-implanted children and 31 children with NH, aged 5 to 13, were classified as musically active or non-active by a questionnaire recording regularity of musical activities, in particular singing, and reading and other activities shared with parents. Perception of word and sentence stress, performance in word finding, verbal intelligence (WISC vocabulary) and phonological awareness (PA; production of rhymes) were measured in all children. Comparisons between children with a CI and NH were made against a sub-set of 21 of the children with NH who were matched to children with CIs by age, gender, socio-economic background and musical activity. Regression analyses, run separately for children with CIs and NH, assessed how much variance in each language task was shared with each of prosodic perception, the child’s own music activity, and activities with parents, including singing and reading. All statistical analyses were conducted both with and without control for age and maternal education.
Results: Musically active children with CIs performed similarly to NH controls in all language tasks, while those who were not musically active performed more poorly. Only musically non-active children with CIs made more phonological and semantic errors in word finding than NH controls, and word finding correlated with other language skills. Regression analysis results for word finding and VIQ were similar for children with CIs and NH. These language skills shared considerable variance with the perception of prosodic stress and musical activities. When age and maternal education were controlled for, strong links remained between perception of prosodic stress and VIQ (shared variance: CI, 32%/NH, 16%) and between musical activities and word finding (shared variance: CI, 53%/NH, 20%). Links were always stronger for children with CIs, for whom better phonological awareness was also linked to improved stress perception and more musical activity, and parental activities altogether shared significantly variance with word finding and VIQ.
Conclusions: For children with CIs and NH, better perception of prosodic stress and musical activities with singing are associated with improved generative language skills. Additionally, for children with CIs, parental singing has a stronger positive association to word finding and VIQ than parental reading. These results cannot address causality, but they suggest that good perception of prosodic stress, musical activities involving singing, and parental singing and reading may all be beneficial for word finding and other generative language skills in implanted children.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEar and Hearing
Volume41
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)395-410
Number of pages16
ISSN0196-0202
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Contrastive focus
  • Language skills
  • Music
  • Naming
  • Phonological awareness
  • Prosody
  • word stress and lexical stress
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sentence stress
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Verbal IQ
  • Vocabulary
  • Word finding
  • INFANT-DIRECTED SPEECH
  • PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS
  • DEAF-CHILDREN
  • LEXICAL FACTORS
  • COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENT
  • PRESCHOOL-CHILDREN
  • WORD SEGMENTATION
  • BRAIN
  • RECOGNITION
  • SOUNDS
  • 515 Psychology
  • 6163 Logopedics
  • 6162 Cognitive science

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