Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Tonya Bergeson


Adequate language exposure is crucial for speech-language development in children. Previous research suggests that decreased language exposure leads to an increased risk for speech-language developmental delays. This study aims to explore the language exposure of two arguably language-deprived environments: Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and severe-to-profound hearing loss. This is a two-part study that examines caregiver-infant interactions through the analysis of infant-directed speech (IDS). In the first part of the study, researchers transcribed and analyzed pre-recorded Language Environment Analysis (LENA) audio recordings of five (5) infants with severe-to-profound hearing loss (6-months post cochlear implantation). These LENA recordings collected speech, language, and sounds from the infant’s surroundings for 24 hours. In the second part of the study, researchers collected, transcribed, and analyzed ten (10) recordings from a level III single-room NICU. These audio recordings consisted of three parts: (1) natural language sample, (2) caregiver book reading with words, and (3) caregiver book reading without words. In the analysis of both part one and part two audio recordings, linguistic (number and type of words, etc.) characteristics of IDS were measured and compared across participant groups. Results of this study show the effects of the NICU environment and severe-to-profound hearing loss on IDS and language exposure.