Speak on time! Effects of a musical rhythmic training on children with hearing loss

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Abstract

This study investigates temporal adaptation in speech interaction in children with normal hearing and in children with cochlear implants (CIs) and/or hearing aids (HAs). We also address the question of whether musical rhythmic training can improve these skills in children with hearing loss (HL). Children named pictures presented on the screen in alternation with a virtual partner. Alternation rate (fast or slow) and the temporal predictability (match vs mismatch of stress occurrences) were manipulated. One group of children with normal hearing (NH) and one with HL were tested. The latter group was tested twice: once after 30 min of speech therapy and once after 30 min of musical rhythmic training. Both groups of children (NH and with HL) can adjust their speech production to the rate of alternation of the virtual partner. Moreover, while children with normal hearing benefit from the temporal regularity of stress occurrences, children with HL become sensitive to this manipulation only after rhythmic training. Rhythmic training may help children with HL to structure the temporal flow of their verbal interactions.

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