Infant Cooing, Babbling Linked to Hearing Ability Infants coo and babble primarily to hear their own vocalizations, according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Further, infants with profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants soon reached the vocalization levels of their hearing peers—putting them on track for language development. Infants’ vocalizations throughout the ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   December 01, 2014
Infant Cooing, Babbling Linked to Hearing Ability
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Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   December 01, 2014
Infant Cooing, Babbling Linked to Hearing Ability
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19122014.14
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19122014.14
Infants coo and babble primarily to hear their own vocalizations, according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Further, infants with profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants soon reached the vocalization levels of their hearing peers—putting them on track for language development.
Infants’ vocalizations throughout the first year follow a set of predictable steps from crying and cooing to forming syllables and first words. However, previous research had not addressed how the amount of vocalizations may differ between hearing and deaf infants.
Author Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, studied the vocalizations of 27 hearing infants and 16 infants with profound hearing loss who were candidates for cochlear implants. She found that infants with profound hearing loss vocalized significantly less than hearing infants. However, the vocalizations of infants with profound hearing loss increased to the same levels as their hearing peers within four months of receiving CIs.
“After the infants received their cochlear implants, the significant difference in overall vocalization quantity was no longer evident,” Fagan said. “These findings support the importance of early hearing screenings and early cochlear implantation.”
Fagan found that non-speech-like sounds such as crying, laughing and raspberry sounds, were not affected by infants’ hearing ability. She says this indicates that babies are more interested in speech-like sounds because they increase their production of those sounds—such as babbling—when they can hear.
“Hearing is a critical aspect of infants’ motivation to make early sounds,” Fagan said. “This study shows babies are interested in speech-like sounds and that they increase their babbling when they can hear.”
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December 2014
Volume 19, Issue 12