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Phonemic accuracy development in children with cochlear implants up to five years of age by using Levenshtein Distance

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Phonemic accuracy of children with cochlear implants (CI) is often reported to be lower in comparison with normally hearing (NH) age-matched children. In this study, we compare phonemic accuracy development in the spontaneous speech of Dutch-speaking children with CI and NH age-matched peers. A dynamic cost model of Levenshtein distance is used to compute the accuracy of each word token. We set up a longitudinal design with monthly data for comparisons up to age two and a cross-sectional design with yearly data between three and five years of age. The main finding is that phonemic accuracy steadily increases throughout the period studied. Children with Cl's accuracy is lower than that of their NH age mates, but this difference is not statistically significant in the earliest stages of lexical development. But accuracy of children with CI initially improves significantly less steeply than that of NH peers. Furthermore, the number of syllables in the target word and target word's complexity influence children's accuracy, as longer and more complex target words are less accurately produced. Up to age four, children with CI are significantly less accurate than NH children with increasing word length and word complexity. This difference has disappeared at age five. Finally, hearing age is shown to influence accuracy development of children with CI, while age of implant activation is not. Learning outcomes: This article informs the reader about phonemic accuracy development in children. The reader will be able to (a) discuss different metrics to measure phonemic accuracy development, (b) discuss phonemic accuracy of children with CI up to five years of age and compare them with NH children, (c) discuss the influence of target word's complexity and target word's syllable length on phonemic accuracy, (d) discuss the influence of hearing experience and age of implantation on phonemic accuracy of children with CI. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal: Journal of Communication Disorders
ISSN: 0021-9924
Volume: 59
Pages: 40 - 58
Publication year:2016