INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION, vol.23, no.2, pp.27-32, 2008 (ESCI)
The aim of training children with hearing impairment in the auditory oral approach is to develop good speaking abilities. However, children with profound hearing-impairment show a wide range of spoken language abilities, some having highly intelligible speech while others have unintelligible speech. This is due to errors in speech production. While children with hearing-impairment speak, segmental and prosodic errors may occur, so the intelligibility of their speech is affected. Because of these segmental and prosodic errors, the speaking rate of hearing-impaired children can be slower than that of hearing children. The aim of the current study is to find out if there are differences between children with and without hearing-impairment in terms of speech and reading rates. Relationships between speech rate, intelligibility, hearing loss, and aided thresholds of children with hearing-impairment are investigated as well. Hearing impaired children's speech and reading rates along with their speech and reading intelligiblity scores are compared. The speech samples of 25 high school students' with profound hearing impairment pre-lingually were compared with those of 15 students without hearing impairment. Data on the rate of speech were collected by means of a laryngograph. Speech intelligibility was rated by a jury of naive listeners who were asked to write down what they heard after listening to recorded statements from the speech samples. Findings revealed a difference between speech and reading rates of hearing and hearing impaired children, and a relationship between speech rate and speech intelligibility. No relationship was found between hearing loss and speech rate, hearing loss and intelligibility, aided thresholds and speech rate, and aided thresholds and intelligibility. The diffference between hearing-impaired children's speech and reading rate was not statistically significant while the difference between their speech and reading intelligibility was significant. Implications for the education of children with hearing impairment are presented.