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Perception of sibilant consonants and understanding of plurals in hearing-impaired children

The aim of this project is to study the link between the perception of speech in noise and the development of grammar in children, particularly hearing-impaired children with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss. More specifically, the aim is to understand the extent to which a deficit in the perception of certain sounds, such as “s” and “z”, when heard in background noise, can have an impact on the oral comprehension of plurals in subject-verb agreement. In French, the perception of the sounds “s” and “z” sometimes enables the listener to tell whether the sentence being heard is singular or plural. For example, in the sentence “ils arrivent” (/ilzariv/), the plural is indicated only by the link between the subject and the verb.
To answer this question, a group of normal-hearing children and a group of hearing-impaired children are playing games on a touch-sensitive tablet. This study is being carried out in collaboration with the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) and Dr Bonnie Lau.
The results of this study will provide a better understanding of the difficulties hearing-impaired children have with grammar.

Project team lead
Laurianne Cabrera