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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Many infants with hearing loss are identified during the first months of life through newborn hearing screening and follow-up diagnostics. These children are frequently fit with hearing aids before 3 months of age and those with severe-profound losses often receive cochlear implants soon after their first birthdays. To effectively serve this very young population, it is important to understand the prelinguistic phases of speech development and the effects of hearing loss and sensory aid use on this phenomenon. Prelinguistic vocal development is the process by which infants and toddlers produce utterances that are increasingly complex, phonetically diverse, and adult-like before saying words on a consistent basis. This chapter reviews research findings for typically developing infants and children with hearing loss, including those who receive cochlear implants at a young age. Differences between these two groups are examined to clarify the role of audition in facilitating vocal development. Vocalization types that provide evidence of advancement in vocal development and benefit from sensory aid use are identified. A clinically useful tool for evaluating the influence of hearing on speech development and a family-centered intervention strategy for stimulating vocal development are also presented.

Keywords: hearing loss, hearing impairment, speech development, infants, children, prelinguistic vocal development, cochlear implants

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