A variety of studies has examined language and reading achievement among children with cochlear implants. Despite huge (and largely unexplained) individual differences in outcomes, children with implants generally perform better in these domains than deaf children without implants, although not as well as hearing age-mates. Beyond spoken language and reading abilities of young children, far less is known about outcomes following cochlear implantation, particularly in older deaf children and youth and among those without cochlear implants. This project will examine relations among various measures of (1) spoken language and sign language skills, (2) verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities, (3) learning from print and through- the-air (spoken and/or signed) communication, and (4) audiological backgrounds of deaf students (e.g., cochlear implant histories, family communication). Additional variables to be considered in both specific comparisons for each study and in a latent variable path analysis include measures of academic achievement, social-emotional functioning, vocabulary knowledge and reading ability, and deaf students'language and cochlear implant histories. Eight studies utilizing paradigms from cognitive science and communication science will investigate differences in the three primary domains of interest and interactions among them. Three groups of young adults will participate in each study, all three varying in their academic abilities and knowledge of sign language: deaf students with cochlear implants, deaf students without cochlear implants, and hearing students. Analyses of between-group differences, and proportions of variance accounted for by various measures in predicting others will allow the most comprehensive studies to date concerning language, cognition, and learning among deaf students with and without cochlear implants. Results will have specific practical implications for educating deaf students and theoretical implications for greater understanding of interactions of language and cognition among individuals who vary in their access to spoken language. More generally, the results will help to better focus services for individuals with hearing loss, making them more efficient and effective, while enhancing educational and employment opportunities as well as physical and emotional health.

Public Health Relevance

This project is aimed at deciphering interactions among language, learning, and cognitive abilities of deaf students with cochlear implants. The results will help to better focus services for individuals with hearing loss, making them more efficient and effective, while enhancing educational and employment opportunities as well as physical and emotional health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Language and Communication Study Section (LCOM)
Program Officer
Cooper, Judith
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Rochester Institute of Technology
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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Marschark, Marc; Machmer, Elizabeth; Spencer, Linda J et al. (2018) Language and Psychosocial Functioning among Deaf Learners with and without Cochlear Implants. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 23:28-40
Blom, Helen; Marschark, Marc; Machmer, Elizabeth (2017) Simultaneous communication supports learning in noise by cochlear implant users. Cochlear Implants Int 18:49-56
Marschark, Marc; Paivio, Allan; Spencer, Linda J et al. (2017) Don't Assume Deaf Students are Visual Learners. J Dev Phys Disabil 29:153-171
Marschark, Marc; Kronenberger, William G; Rosica, Mark et al. (2017) Social Maturity and Executive Function Among Deaf Learners. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 22:22-34
Marschark, Marc; Zettler, Ingo; Dammeyer, Jesper (2017) Social Dominance Orientation, Language Orientation, and Deaf Identity. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 22:269-277
Marschark, Marc; Sarchet, Thomastine; Trani, Alexandra (2016) Effects of Hearing Status and Sign Language Use on Working Memory. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 21:148-55
Marschark, Marc; Spencer, Linda J; Durkin, Andreana et al. (2015) Understanding Language, Hearing Status, and Visual-Spatial Skills. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 20:310-30
Blom, Helen C; Marschark, Marc (2015) Simultaneous Communication and Cochlear Implants in the Classroom? Deafness Educ Int 17:123-131
Marschark, Marc; Shaver, Debra M; Nagle, Katherine M et al. (2015) Predicting the Academic Achievement of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students From Individual, Household, Communication, and Educational Factors. Except Child 81:350-369
Sarchet, Thomastine; Marschark, Marc; Borgna, Georgianna et al. (2014) Vocabulary Knowledge of Deaf and Hearing Postsecondary Students. J Postsecond Educ Disabil 27:161-178

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