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Role of infant-directed speech in language development of hearing impaired infants -HEARing CRC PhD presentation
Role of infant-directed speech in language
development of hearing impaired infants
Irena Lovcevic, email@example.com
MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University
Infant-directed speech (IDS) refers to the
special speaking style used in interactions
with infants. Previous studies with normal-
hearing (NH) infants showed that IDS helps
infants to segment words from fluent
speech, recognise words, and learn new
words. However, there are many
unanswered questions around the features
of infant-directed speech that hearing
impaired (HI) infants are receiving, and
their role in the development of their early
lexical processing skills. This project will
investigate the features of IDS that are
beneficial for early language acquisition in
infants with normal and impaired hearing.
•Special speech register that adults use when addressing
•In comparison with adult-directed speech (ADS), IDS has1:
o Longer vowels and pauses;
o Exaggerated vowel articulation;
o Slower rate;
o Higher pitch and greater pitch range;
o Increased repetition;
o High proportion of questions.
•IDS is present in almost all world languages.
•IDS is proposed to serve 3 main functions1:
o To attract and maintain infants’ attention;
o To transmit emotional and affective content;
o To facilitate language acquisition2,3.
•NH and HI infants prefer IDS over ADS4.
Role of IDS in language acquisition
When stimuli are presented in IDS, normal hearing infants are
more successful in tasks of:
• Word segmentation5;
• Word recognition6;
• Word learning7.
IDS to Hearing Impaired infants
• IDS is affected by sensory or cognitive impairments in
• IDS to hearing impaired infants is characterised by:
o Vowel hypoarticulation8,9;
o Higher pitch10;
o Fewer and less complex utterances;
• Different developmental trajectory from IDS to NH infants.
Pitch - maternal pitch decreased for older infants with
normal hearing and infants with CI, but peaked at 6 months
post-amplification for infants with hearing aids11;
o Utterance repetition - maternal use of utterance
repetition decreased with increasing age of normal
hearing infants, but peaked at 3 months post-
amplification for infants with CI and at 6 months post-
amplification for infants with hearing aids11;
o Mean length of utterance (MLU) - Maternal MLU
increased across ages for normal hearing infants, but
there was no change in MLU across ages for infants
with hearing aids and infants with CI11;
o Use of new words - maternal use of new words
increased over time for normal hearing infants, slightly
increased for infants with hearing aids and showed no
change over time for infants with CI11.
• Combination of longitudinal and cross-sectional
experiments with NH- and HI-infants between 9 and 30
months of age.
• Research questions:
o What type of input are HI infants receiving?
o What features of IDS influence word learning and
o What is the optimal type of IDS input to promote lexical
processing and word learning in HI infants?
creating sound value www.hearingcrc.org
1. Fernald, A., & Simon, T. (1984). Dev. Psych., 20, 104–113. 2. Cooper, R. P., Abraham, J., Berman,
S., & Staska, M. (1997). Infant Behav. Dev., 20(4), 477-488. 3. Grieser, D. L., & Kuhl, P. K. (1988).
Dev. Psych., 24(1), 14-20. 4. Robertson, S., von Hapsburg, D., & Hay, J.S. (2013). J. Speech Lang. &
Hear. Res., 56 (4), 1108-1119. 5. Thiessen, E. D., Hill, E. A., & Saffran, J. R. (2005). Infancy, 7(1),
53-71. 6. Song, J. Y., Demuth, K., & Morgan, J. (2010). JASA, 128(1), 389-400. 7. Ma, Weiyi, Roberta
Michnick Golinkoff, Derek Houston & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. (2011). Lang. Learn. & Dev. (7), 209–225.
8. Lam, C., & Kitamura, C. (2010). J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res., 53(3), 543-555. 9. Lam, C., &
Kitamura, C. (2012). Dev. Sci., 15(2), 212-221. 10. Bergeson, T. R., Miller, R. J., & McCune, K.
(2006). Infancy, 10(3), 221-240. 11. Bergeson, T. R. (2013). Cochlear implants Int.
Aim: To identify and assess the features of IDS that are
beneficial for early word learning, vocabulary
development and lexical processing.