Enhanced visual speech perception in individuals with early-onset hearing impairment

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2007 Oct;50(5):1157-65. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2007/080).


Purpose: L. E. Bernstein, M. E. Demorest, and P. E. Tucker (2000) demonstrated enhanced speechreading accuracy in participants with early-onset hearing loss compared with hearing participants. Here, the authors test the generalization of Bernstein et al.'s (2000) result by testing 2 new large samples of participants. The authors also investigated correlates of speechreading ability within the early-onset hearing loss group and gender differences in speechreading ability within both participant groups.

Method: One hundred twelve individuals with early-onset hearing loss and 220 individuals with normal hearing identified 30 prerecorded sentences presented 1 at a time from visible speech information alone.

Results: The speechreading accuracy of the participants with early-onset hearing loss (M=43.55% words correct; SD=17.48) significantly exceeded that of the participants with normal hearing (M=18.57% words correct; SD=13.18), t(330)=14.576, p<.01. Within the early-onset hearing loss participants, speechreading ability was correlated with several subjective measures of spoken communication. Effects of gender were not reliably observed.

Conclusion: The present results are consistent with the results of Bernstein et al. (2000). The need to rely on visual speech throughout life, and particularly for the acquisition of spoken language by individuals with early-onset hearing loss, can lead to enhanced speechreading ability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Lipreading*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors