Vocalization frequency as a prognostic marker of language development following early cochlear implantation

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Paris Binos *
Elena Loizou
(*) Corresponding Author:
Paris Binos | p.binos@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Despite their potential significance for later linguistic outcomes, early aspects of vocalization had been seriously undervalued in the past, and thus, minimally investigated until relatively recently. The present article sets out to critically examine existing evidence to: i) ascertain whether vocalization frequency (volubility) posits a plausible marker of cochlear implantation success in infancy, and ii) determine the clinical usefulness of post-implementation vocalization frequency data in predicting later language development. Only recent peer-reviewed articles with substantial impact on vocalization growth during the first year of life, examining sound production characteristics of normally hearing (NH) and hearing impaired infants fitted with cochlear implantation (CI) were mentioned. Recorded differences in linguistic performance among NH and CI infants are typically attributed to auditory deprivation. Infants who have undergone late CI, produce fewer syllables (low volubility) and exhibit late-onset babbling, especially those who received their CIs at the age of 12 months or thereafter. Contrarily, early recipients (before the 12-month of age) exhibit higher volubility (more vocalizations), triggered from CI-initiated auditory feedback. In other words, early CI provides infants with early auditory access to speech sounds, leading to advanced forms of babbling and increased post-implementation vocalization frequency. Current findings suggest vocalization frequency as a plausible criterion of the success of early CI. It is argued that vocalization frequency predicts language development and affects habilitation therapy.


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