Effects of Prosody Rehabilitation on Acoustic Analysis of Prosodic Features in Hearing-Impaired Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2021 Jul 21;1-17. doi: 10.1159/000516979. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: The role of prosody in language acquisition and effective communication is documented in research. Nevertheless, rehabilitation of prosodic skills in children with hearing impairment using hearing aids or cochlear implants is relatively neglected compared to other speech and language areas.

Objective: To detect the effect of prosodic rehabilitation using the adapted translated version of the "Prosody Treatment Program" on expression of prosodic features in Egyptian Arabic-speaking hearing-impaired school-age children fitted with hearing aids or cochlear implant devices in comparison to conventional auditory and language rehabilitation.

Methods: This study was conducted on 34 children with sensorineural hearing loss in a randomized controlled trial design. Children were randomly divided into 2 groups, group A (cases) and group B (control), by block randomization. Both groups were initially evaluated for their prosodic skills using objective measures. Group A received rehabilitation for prosody using the Prosody Treatment Program for 1 h, once per week for 3 months, while group B received conventional auditory and language training and served as their control. Both groups were re-evaluated using the same protocol after 3 months of therapy.

Results: A statistically significant improvement of most of the assessed prosodic parameters in group A was shown when comparing the pretherapy and posttherapy scores, as well as comparing between both studied groups after therapy.

Conclusions: Prosody is amenable to motor learning. The Prosody Treatment Program seems to be an effective rehabilitation tool in improving some prosodic skills of hearing-impaired children. Prosodic rehabilitation showed superiority to conventional auditory and language training in improving the expression of some prosodic features and pragmatic language skills.

Keywords: Acoustic analysis; Auditory training; Hearing impairment; Prosody; Rehabilitation.