Exploring reduced speaking rate of CI users (Shin et al., 2022)
Purpose: This study examined the extent to which prelingual cochlear implant (CI) users show a slowed speaking rate compared with typical-hearing (TH) talkers when repeating various speech stimuli and whether the slowed speech of CI users relates to their immediate verbal memory.
Method: Participants included 10 prelingually deaf teenagers who received CIs before the age of 5 years and 10 age-matched TH teenagers. Participants repeated nonword syllable strings, word strings, and center-embedded sentences, with conditions balanced for syllable length and metrical structure. Participants’ digit span forward and backward scores were collected to measure immediate verbal memory. Speaking rate data were analyzed using a mixed-design, repeated-measures analysis of variance, and the relationships between speaking rate and digit spans were evaluated by Pearson correlation.
Results: Participants with CIs spoke more slowly than their TH peers during the sentence repetition task but not in the nonword string and word string repetition tasks. For the CI group, significant correlations emerged between speaking rate and digit span scores (both forward and backward) for the sentence repetition task but not for the nonword string or word string repetition task. For the TH group, no significant correlations were found.
Conclusions: The findings indicate a relation between slowed speech production, reduced immediate verbal memory, and diminished language capabilities of prelingual CI users, particularly for syntactic processing. These results support theories claiming that immediate memory, including components of a central executive, influences the speaking rate of these talkers. Implications for therapies designed to increase speech fluency in CI recipients are discussed.
Supplemental Material S1. Stimuli.
Shin, S., Warner-Czyz, A., Geers, A., & Katz, W. F. (2022). Speaking rate, immediate memory, and grammatical processing in prelingual cochlear implant recipients. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_JSLHR-22-00163