James F. Maurer

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication

Physical Description

1 online resource (52 p.)


Hearing disorders in children, Middle ear -- Diseases




The purpose of this study was to investigate the central auditory processing of children who had sustained chronic middle ear problems during their early language-learning years. A 60% compressed recording of the NU-6 speech discrimination word lists was administered to twenty eight and nine year old normal hearing public school children, reported by their parents to have had repeated middle ear problems during their early years, and to twenty control subjects matched for age from the same public school classes. Differences in compressed and uncompressed word discrimination scores between the experimental and control groups were not found to be statistically significant. These results indicate that the experimental subjects' ability to process compressed speech was not impaired by early middle ear difficulties. The alternative was suggested that if these children actually sustained central damage due to distorted or degraded input during their hearing deficit episodes, then such effects may be neutralized by subsequent auditory experience and neurological maturity. A significant difference for both groups of children was noted between scores obtained with NU-6 lists 2A and 3A at 60% compression. While apparently equivalent in the uncompressed form, list 3 was found to be significantly more difficult than list 2 when compressed. Implications for further research are discussed.


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