Scientists have suggested that early exposure to auditory input may facilitate language skills in deaf children.
Indiana University Department of Otolaryngology experts made use of the Intermodal Preferential Looking (IPL) paradigm to investigate the language ability of the children.
Principal researcher Derek Houston, and Philip F. Holton Scholar at the Indiana University School of Medicine, found that early auditory experience strongly affected deaf children in learning words, whether that experience was through normal means or with a cochlear implant.
Dr. Houston said: "This research is significant because surgery at very young ages requires more expertise. It is important to know if the increased benefit of early auditory input warrants surgery at younger ages."
Dr. Houston concluded: "Taken together, the findings suggest that early access to auditory input, even if the access to sound is quite impoverished, plays an important role in acquiring the ability to rapidly learn associations between spoken words and their meanings."
The study was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting.