Introduction: Children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and prelingual onset of deafness exhibit less linguistic skills and poorer academic achievements when compared with their hearing peers. Recent studies show that cochlear implants may promote language development in this paediatric population, although phonological development does not always follow the patterns attested for typically developing children. Aim and method: The present study aims at describing the phonetic properties of segments and the phonological processes produced by 18 deaf Portuguese children with more than 2.0 years of implant use, divided into two groups according of their hearing age (A=2.10-4.04 and B=5.04-7.03) For this purpose, we used a formal articulation test validated for the Portuguese population. Results: Results show that Group B, with a higher hearing age, exhibit a consonant repertoire more complete than Group A, whose hearing age was lower. Syllable and segmental difficulties tend to persist over a long period of time, even after 4 years of implant experience (i.e. hearing age). Discussion: The children's consonant repertoire of plosives and fricatives seems to take longer to establish in deaf children with cochlear implants than in their Portuguese hearing peer; other phonological patterns found in the data show an immature phonological development (e.g. syllable omission and onset deletion); these results match the ones reported for other languages in other studies on cochlear implanted children.
- Cochlear implants
- Phonetic properties of segments
- Phonological processes