Phonological Abilities of Hearing-Impaired Cantonese-Speaking Children With Cochlear Implants or Hearing Aids
PURPOSE: This article examined the phonological skills of 2 groups of Cantonese-speaking children with prelingual, profound bilateral hearing loss. The phonological abilities of 7 children fitted with hearing aids were compared with the abilities of 7 children who wore cochlear implants. METHOD: Participants in each group ranged in age from 5;1 to 6;4 years. The participants were asked to name 57 pictures and retell 2 stories. Phonological abilities were described in terms of the participants' phonological units and the phonological processes used. The participants' perception of single words was assessed using a Cantonese phonology test that includes tonal, segmental, and semantic distracters. RESULTS: All except 1 participant had incomplete phonetic repertories. All participants showed complete vowel and tone inventories. The study group used both developmental rules and nondevelopmental phonological rules. For perception of single words, participants chose the target word most often. The cochlear implant users had a significantly higher percentage correct score for consonant production than hearing aid users. CONCLUSIONS: The prediction that Cantonese children wearing cochlear implants would have better phonological skills than children having hearing aids with a similar degree of hearing loss was confirmed. Cochlear implant usage appeared to promote consonant feature production development to a greater degree than did the use of a hearing aid.