Spoken word recognition in toddlers who use cochlear implants

Tina M. Grieco-Calub, Jenny R. Saffran, Ruth Y. Litovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the time course of spoken word recognition in 2-year-old children who use cochlear implants (CIs) in quiet and in the presence of speech competitors. Method: Children who use CIs and age-matched peers with normal acoustic hearing listened to familiar auditory labels, in quiet or in the presence of speech competitors, while their eye movements to target objects were digitally recorded. Word recognition performance was quantified by measuring each child's reaction time (i.e., the latency between the spoken auditory label and the first look at the target object) and accuracy (i.e., the amount of time that children looked at target objects within 367 ms to 2,000 ms after the label onset). Results: Children with CIs were less accurate and took longer to fixate target objects than did age-matched children without hearing loss. Both groups of children showed reduced performance in the presence of the speech competitors, although many children continued to recognize labels at above-chance levels. Conclusion: The results suggest that the unique auditory experience of young CI users slows the time course of spoken word recognition abilities. In addition, real-world listening environments may slow language processing in young language learners, regardless of their hearing status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1390-1400
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Children
  • Cochlear implants
  • Spoken word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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