Deaf children with cochlear implants do not appear to use sentence context to help recognize spoken words

Christopher M. Conway, Joanne A. Deocampo, Anne M. Walk, Esperanza M. Anaya, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: The authors investigated the ability of deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) to use sentence context to facilitate the perception of spoken words.

Method: Deaf children with CIs (n = 24) and an age-matched group of children with normal hearing (n = 31) were presented with lexically controlled sentences and were asked to repeat each sentence in its entirety. Performance was analyzed at each of 3 word positions of each sentence (first, second, and third key word).

Results: Whereas the children with normal hearing showed robust effects of contextual facilitation—improved speech perception for the final words in a sentence—the deaf children with CIs on average showed no such facilitation. Regression analyses indicated that for the deaf children with CIs, Forward Digit Span scores significantly predicted accuracy scores for all 3 positions, whereas performance on the Stroop Color and Word Test, Children’s Version (Golden, Freshwater, & Golden, 2003) predicted how much contextual facilitation was observed at the final word.

Conclusions: The pattern of results suggests that some deaf children with CIs do not use sentence context to improve spoken word recognition. The inability to use sentence context may be due to possible interactions between language experience and cognitive factors that affect the ability to successfully integrate temporal–sequential information in spoken language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2174-2190
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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