Preference for Infant-Directed Speech in Infants With Hearing Aids: Effects of Early Auditory Experience
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Purpose: It is well established that (a) infants prefer listening to infant-directed speech (IDS) over adult-directed speech (ADS), and (b) IDS facilitates speech, language, and cognitive development, compared with ADS. The main purpose of this study was to determine whether infants with hearing aids (HAs), similar to their peers with normal hearing (NH), show a listening preference for IDS over ADS. Methods: A total of 42 infants participated in the study. In Experiment 1, 9 infants with hearing loss, who had approximately 12 months of experience (mean chronological age of 17.57 months) with HAs, and 9 infants with NH, who had similar chronological age (17.54 months), were tested. In Experiment 2, 10 infants with hearing loss, who had approximately 4 months of experience (mean chronological age of 9.86 months) with HAs, and 14 infants with NH, who had similar chronological age (9.09 months), were tested. Infants were tested on their listening preference in 3 randomized blocks: IDS versus silence, ADS versus silence, and IDS versus ADS blocks, using the central fixation preference procedure. Results: Experiment 1 showed that infants with HAs, similar to their peers with NH, listened longer to both IDS and ADS relative to silence; however, neither infants with HAs nor infants with NH showed a listening preference for IDS over ADS. In Experiment 2, both infants with HAs and infants with NH showed a listening preference for IDS and ADS relative to silence; in addition, both groups preferred listening to IDS over ADS. Conclusions: Infants with HAs appear to have sufficient access to the acoustic cues in the speech that allow them to develop an age-equivalent IDS preference. This may be attributed to a combination of being able to use the hearing they do have before receiving HAs and early device fitting. Given previously demonstrated positive associations between IDS preference and language development, this research encourages early interventions focusing on maximizing early auditory experience in infants with hearing loss.
Wang, Y., Bergeson, T. R., & Houston, D. M. (2018). Preference for infant-directed speech in infants with hearing aids: Effects of early auditory experience. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. ePub pgs. 1-9. doi: 10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-18-0086