Development of speech perception and production in children with cochlear implants

Liat Kishon-Rabin*, Riki Taitelbaum, Chava Muchnik, Inbal Gehtler, Jona Kronenberg, Minka Hildesheimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the present study was twofold: 1) to compare the hierarchy of perceived and produced significant speech pattern contrasts in children with cochlear implants, and 2) to compare this hierarchy to developmental data of children with normal hearing. The subjects included 35 prelingual hearing-impaired children with multichannel cochlear implants. The test materials were the Hebrew Speech Pattern Contrast (HeSPAC) test and the Hebrew Picture Speech Pattern Contrast (HePiSPAC) test for older and younger children, respectively. The results show that 1) auditory speech perception performance of children with cochlear implants reaches an asymptote at 76% (after correction for guessing) between 4 and 6 years of implant use; 2) all implant users perceived vowel place extremely well immediately after implantation; 3) most implanted children perceived initial voicing at chance level until 2 to 3 years after implantation, after which scores improved by 60% to 70% with implant use; 4) the hierarchy of phonetic-feature production paralleled that of perception: vowels first, voicing last, and manner and place of articulation in between; and 5) the hierarchy in speech pattern contrast perception and production was similar between the implanted and the normal-hearing children, with the exception of the vowels (possibly because of the interaction between the specific information provided by the implant device and the acoustics of the Hebrew language). The data reported here contribute to our current knowledge about the development of phonological contrasts in children who were deprived of sound in the first few years of their lives and then developed phonetic representations via cochlear implants. The data also provide additional insight into the interrelated skills of speech perception and production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number5 II
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implant
  • Developmental speech perception
  • Developmental speech production
  • Hearing-impaired child phonetic contrasts
  • Phonological contrasts


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