Word learning in children following cochlear implantation

Derek M. Houston, Allyson K. Carter, David B. Pisoni, Karen Her Kirk, Elizabeth A. Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


An experimental procedure was developed to investigate word-learning skills of children who use cochlear implants (CIs). Using interactive play scenarios, 2- to 5-year olds were presented with sets of objects (Beanie Baby stuffed animals) and words for their names that corresponded to salient perceptual attributes (e.g., "horns" for a goat). Their knowledge of the word-object associations was measured immediately after exposure and then following a 2-hour delay. Children who use cochlear implants performed more poorly than age-matched children with typical hearing both receptively and expressively. Both groups of children showed retention of the word-object associations in the delayed testing conditions for words that were previously known. Our findings suggest that although pediatric CI users may have impaired phonological processing skills, their long-term memory for familiar words may be similar to children with typical hearing. Further, the methods that developed in this study should be useful for investigating other aspects of word learning in children who use CIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-72
Number of pages32
JournalVolta Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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