Phonological Awareness and Working Memory in Mandarin-Speaking Preschool-Aged Children With Cochlear Implants

Wen Ma, Hongwei Ding, Gang Peng, Yang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cochlear implants (CIs) provide significant benefits for profoundly deaf children in their language and cognitive development. However, it remains unclear whether Mandarin-speaking young children with early implantation can develop age-equivalent phonological awareness (PA) skill and working memory (WM) capacity as their normal hearing (NH) peers. The aim of this study was to investigate PA and WM in preschool-aged children with or without hearing loss and to examine the relationship between the two basic skills. Method: The data were collected from 16 Mandarin-speaking preschoolers with CIs and 16 age-matched children with NH. All preschool participants were instructed to complete four phonological detection tasks and four digit span tasks. Linear mixed-effects modeling was performed to evaluate PA and WM performances between two groups across different tasks. Results: CI preschoolers showed comparable performances on par with NH controls in phonological detections and visual digit spans. In addition, Pearson correlation analysis revealed a positive relationship between phonological detections and auditory digit spans in preschool-aged children with CIs. Conclusion: With early implantation, the congenitally deaf children were capable of developing age-appropriate PA skill and WM capacity, which have practical implications for aural rehabilitation in this special pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4485-4497
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China Grant 18ZDA293, awarded to Hongwei Ding and Yang Zhang, and National Social Science Foundation of China Grant 21BYY020, awarded to Wen Ma. The authors thank the Shanghai Rehabilitation Center of the Deaf Children for the cooperation and assistance in implementing this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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