Introduction: Research on early cochlear implantation and first language milestones is limited. To compare language performance in cochlear implant (CI) users and hearing children, the establishment of normative data for both groups would be of benefit. To aid the data collection for Turkish hearing children and children with a CI diaries can be used.
Aims: This study aimed to document the first 100-word lexicon acquired by Turkish hearing children and children with a CI during the first 2 years of hearing experience, to determine the distribution of the first 100-word lexicon per word category, the rate of acquisition of words and the effects of age at implantation on language performance.
Methods: First word data was collected from 63 Turkish hearing children and 71 CI users implanted under 36 months of chronological age using a diary. The mean number of words recorded at each time interval was calculated. The time taken to achieve the first 100-word lexicon and the categories of the first words were documented. Performance under 18 months and over 24 months of age at first fitting was compared.
Results: By 19-21 months of hearing age both hearing and CI user's vocabularies were of similar size. CI users developed a lexicon earlier than hearing children, but once hearing children started to acquire words their acquisition rate was faster. The distribution of words acquired per category were similar. 83% of first words were shared by both groups. No significant difference in performance was found between: hearing versus: implanted children; or earlier (<18 months) versus later (≥24 months) implanted children.
Conclusions: The vocabulary of hearing children compared to CI users are similar in size and the category. Early access to auditory stimuli facilitates children with a hearing loss to develop vocabularies similar to hearing children in the short term.
Keywords: CI; Children; Cochlear implant; First lexicon; Language acquisition; Turkish.
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