Listening Effort and Developmental Neuroplasticity in Children with Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

ID: 4090
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2020
End Date: September 2022

Description

A widely used treatment for reduced hearing across the lifespan has been a growing use of hearing aids and cochlear implants. A broad motivation for this practice is the assumption that these devices provide robust augmentation of sound, and, hence, robust access to language and reading. By contrast, new research has provided challenges to this prevailing view and has revealed that adults who experience early and protracted degraded auditory processing, as made available from sound augmentative devices, show changes to the human brain’s neural structures and circuitry underlying language processing (e.g., reduced prefrontal cortex activity, reduced neural network functional connectivity). In turn, this has been demonstrated to have a deleterious impact on adults’ language and higher cognitive processes (e.g., higher levels of effort, increased errors, longer response time). In this novel study of children, we seek to discover answers to basic science problems in early child learning and their implications for optimal educational outcomes in young deaf and hearing children. We ask what is the impact of protracted use of hearing aids and cochlear implants on learning in young children, especially on language, reading, executive cognitive functions, and both children’s emotion recognition and self-perceptions of effort and ease that impact a child’s sustained attention for optimal learning. The findings will render relevant new knowledge important for deaf and all children, advance Gallaudet University research priorities, and contribute to innovations in the nation’s educational policies for young deaf and hearing children.

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2021

White, B. E., Gallagher, G., & Petitto, L. A. (2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Presentation at the Virtual Joint Meeting of the Midwest Conference on Cochlear Implants (CI CRASH) and the Mid-Atlantic Symposium on Hearing (MASH), Madison, WI.

White, B. E., McKinnie, K., Smistek, C., & Petitto, L. A. (May 2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Blitz Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., Padilla, C., McKinnie, K., Smistek, C., Palagano, J., Gallagher, G., Horner, R., Aaron-Lozano, K., Kim, Y., Antonio, J., & Petitto, L. A. (February 2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Full Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.