Purpose: This study examined children's word learning in limited and extended high-frequency bandwidth conditions. These conditions represent typical listening environments for children with hearing loss (HL) and children with normal hearing (NH), respectively.
Method: Thirty-six children with NH and 14 children with moderate-to-severe HL served as participants. All of the children were between 8 and 10 years of age and were assigned to either the limited or the extended bandwidth conditions. Five nonsense words were paired with 5 novel pictures. Word learning was assessed in a single session, multitrial, learning paradigm lasting approximately 15 min. Learning rate was defined as the number of exposures necessary to achieve 70% correct performance.
Results: Analysis of variance revealed a significant main effect for bandwidth but not for group. A Bandwidth x Group interaction was also not observed. In this short-term learning paradigm, the children in both groups required 3 times as many exposures to learn each new word in the limited bandwidth condition compared with the extended bandwidth condition.
Conclusion: These results suggest that children with HL may benefit from extended high-frequency amplification when learning new words and for other long-term auditory processes.