Number processing and arithmetic skills in children with cochlear implants

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Though previous findings report that hearing impaired children exhibit impaired language and arithmetic skills, our current understanding of how hearing and the associated language impairments may influence the development of arithmetic skills is still limited. In the current study numerical/arithmetic performance of 45 children with a cochlea implant were compared to that of controls matched for hearing age, intelligence and sex. Our main results were twofold disclosing that children with CI show general as well as specific numerical/arithmetic impairments. On the one hand, we found an increased percentage of children with CI with an indication of dyscalculia symptoms, a general slowing in multiplication and subtraction as well as less accurate number line estimations. On the other hand, however, children with CI exhibited very circumscribed difficulties associated with place-value processing. Performance declined specifically when subtraction required a borrow procedure and number line estimation required the integration of units, tens, and hundreds instead of only units and tens. Thus, it seems that despite initially atypical language development, children with CI are able to acquire arithmetic skills in a qualitatively similar fashion as their normal hearing peers. Nonetheless, when demands on place-value understanding, which has only recently been proposed to be language mediated, hearing impaired children experience specific difficulties.




Pixner, S., Leyrer, M., & Moeller, K. (2014). Number processing and arithmetic skills in children with cochlear implants. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(DEC).

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