Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 6, No 2 (2015)

The language performance of hearing aid and cochlear implant adult users: A pragmatic approach

Sara Meilijson, Jaclyn B Spitzer
Issued Date: 8 Jan 2016


This study aimed to describe the pragmatic behaviours of persons with adult-onset hearing loss (AHL) and to compare the behaviours underlying conversational abilities of hearing aid (HA) users to those of cochlear implant (CI) recipients using the Pragmatic Protocol described by Prutting and Kirchner (1987). The Pragmatic Protocol comprises 30 parameters that are organized in three aspects: verbal, paralinguistic and non-verbal dimensions. Thirty-five hearing aid users and 25 cochlear implant recipients were videotaped in a naturalistic setting during conversation with a partner. Fourteen (41%) of the HA users displayed normative pragmatic behaviour, in contrast to the CI recipients, among whom only 4 (16%) showed normative pragmatic behaviour, a significant difference (t=2.25, df=57, p =0.014. 1-tailed). When comparison was restricted to participants that displayed pragmatic inappropriateness, the two groups showed a similar pattern of inappropriate behaviour. Inappropriateness was observed in Vocal intensity (49%), Repair/revision (37%), Vocal quality (31%), intelligibility (27%), Feedback to speaker (25%), Pause time (24%) and Interruption/overlap (20%).
Although the HA and the CI groups showed a similar pragmatic profile, there were quantitative and some qualitative differences between the two groups. Pragmatic behaviour was more appropriate in the HA group than in the CI user group. The pragmatic profile indicated that the adults with AHL show a wide variety of appropriate pragmatic behaviours and a specific profile of inappropriate pragmatic behaviours. The profile was centred on the paralinguistic and interactive pragmatic parameters, while the verbal and nonverbal aspects were found appropriate.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v6i2.27310


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