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An RIT/NTID Center of Excellence for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Language, Learning, and Cognition among Deaf Students with and without Cochlear Implants

Language, Learning, and Cognition among Deaf Students with and without Cochlear Implants

A variety of studies have examined language and reading achievement among children with cochlear implants. Despite huge (and largely unexplained) individual differences in outcomes, children with implants generally perform better in these domains than deaf children without implants, although not as well as hearing age-mates. Beyond spoken language and reading abilities of young children, far less is known about outcomes following cochlear implantation, particularly in older deaf children and youth and among those without cochlear implants. This project will examine relations among various measures of (1) spoken language and sign language skills, (2) verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities, (3) learning from print and through-the-air (spoken and/or signed) communication, and (4) audiological backgrounds of deaf students (e.g., cochlear implant histories, family communication). Eight studies utilizing paradigms from cognitive science and communication science will investigate differences in the three primary domains of interest and interactions among them. Three groups of young adults will participate in each study, all three varying in their academic abilities and knowledge of sign language: deaf students with cochlear implants, deaf students without cochlear implants, and hearing students. Results will have specific practical implications for educating deaf students and theoretical implications for greater understanding of interactions of language and cognition among individuals who vary in their access to spoken language. More generally, the results will help to better focus services for individuals with hearing loss,making them more efficient and effective, while enhancing educational and employment opportunities as well as physical and emotional health.

This project is supported by the National Institute On Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DC012317. The research conducted therein is solely the responsibility of the investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.