This study examined the degree to which students with profoundly impaired hearing who had been educated in oral and total communication (TC) environments developed auditory and speech skills. The sample consisted of 227 16- and 17-year-old students with profoundly impaired hearing: 127 from TC programs (63 with normal-hearing parents and 64 with deaf parents) and 100 from oral programs. Subject groups were matched in terms of age, unaided residual hearing, and IQ. On average, students from oral programs acquired more intelligible speech and made significantly better use of their limited residual hearing than did the TC students. This finding held for all TC studentsthose with deaf parents as well as those with normal-hearing parents. Although results of this study indicate that auditory and speech production skills are comparatively well developed in students who have consistently used spoken language throughout the day as the primary means of communicating, other factors associated with this oral sample, such as early amplification, consistent hearing aid use, early education, and parental support, may also be necessary for the development of good spoken language skills.
KEY WORDS: hearing impairment, speech, oralism, total communication
Submitted on July 1, 1991
Accepted on January 23, 1992
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