Word learning processes in children with cochlear implants

Elizabeth A. Walker, Karla K. McGregor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    47 Scopus citations


    Purpose: To determine whether 3 aspects of the word learning process-fast mapping, retention, and extension- are problematic for children with cochlear implants (CIs). Method: The authors compared responses of 24 children with CIs, 24 age-matched hearing children, and 23 vocabulary-matched hearing children to a novel object noun training episode. Comprehension and production were measured immediately following training (fast mapping) as well as 1 day later (retention). Extension was measured in terms of the ability of the participants to identify new (untrained) exemplars. Results: Compared with their hearing age-mates, children with CIs performed marginally more poorly on fast mapping as measured by the comprehension probe and more poorly on retention as measured by comprehension and production probes. The age-mates improved over the retention interval, but the children with CIs did not. Most of the children with CIs performed similarly to their age-mates on extension, but 2 children underextended, and 5 children failed to understand the task. Compared with younger vocabulary-matched peers, children with CIs did not differ at fast mapping, retention, or extension. Conclusions: Children with CIs demonstrated deficits in word learning, with retention being especially problematic. Their learning did not differ from that of younger children with similarly sized vocabularies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)375-387
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


    • Children
    • Cochlear implants
    • Word learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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