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Clin Linguist Phon. 2012 Jan;26(1):51-70. doi: 10.3109/02699206.2011.588371. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

Children's development of intonation during the first year of cochlear implant experience.

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  • 1Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


This article describes the longitudinal development of intonation in 18 deaf children who received cochlear implants (CIs) before the age of 3 years and 12 infants with typical development (TD) who served as controls. At the time their implants were activated, the children with CIs ranged in age from 9 to 36 months. Cross-group comparisons were made when the children had equivalent amounts of robust hearing experience but different chronological ages. This article reports the results for the 6-month period ending 9 months after activation of the child's device for children with CIs, and the 6-month period ending at 12 months of age for TD infants. The findings were compared with a model of early intonation development in children with normal hearing. The results indicated that all groups progressed through one or more of the stages predicted by the normative model. At the end of the study period, however, children who had received a CI later than 24 months reached a more mature stage of intonation development than younger CI recipients. Moreover, the older CI group reached the same stage of development as the TD infants who had 3 additional months of language listening experience. The findings suggest that the developmental advantage which older children had previously demonstrated shortly after activation of their CIs is maintained throughout most or all of the first year of CI use.

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