A critical level of hearing for speech perception in children

Peter J. Blamey, Louise E. Paatsch, Catherine P. Bow, Julia Z. Sarant, Roger J. Wales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cochlear implants have raised questions about how children with profoundly impaired hearing can learn spoken language. This study addresses the question of whether there is a critical level of hearing for the development of adequate speech perception abilities. A comparison of the relationships between speech perception scores and spoken language scores shows that a group of profoundly deaf children using hearing aids process spoken language in a way that is fundamentally different from two groups of children with severe and moderate hearing losses. We infer that there is a critical level of hearing below which speech perception relies very heavily on linguistic processing to compensate for limited auditory, information. We also show that a cochlear implant can promote profoundly deaf children from below to above the critical level of hearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalAcoustic Research Letters Online
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes


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