Infant Speech Perception Informing Clinical Practice

With implementation of newborn hearing screenings, newborn diagnostic evaluations, and early fitting of hearing aids, the pediatric audiologist today faces a very different population compared to 20 years ago. These advances necessitate development of protocols that go beyond the verification of hearing aids using standardized measures of real ear. We, as clinicians, need to validate the ability of infants and young toddlers to discriminate speech as is done for older children and adults. Following fitting of hearing aids, there is a period of time from early infancy until a child is old enough to complete a conditioned head turn task when it is unknown if speech discrimination is possible. The presentation will focus on speech discrimination in children under the age of two. I will discuss the development of an objective, non-invasive index (evoked potential) of infant speech perception, along with normative data for infants with normal hearing and infants with hearing loss. We will discuss theoretical approaches, relationships between evoked potentials and behavior, and progress toward an automatic response detection algorithm. The latter third will focus on clinical use and implementation of portions of the Pediatric Minimum Speech Test Battery (PMSTB), focused on the assessment of infant speech discrimination.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Understand novel approaches to the analysis and interpretation of EEG for translational and clinical applications.
  2. Learn the relationship between evoked potentials and behavioral measures of infant speech discrimination.
  3. Describe implementation of PMSTB in children under the age of two in children with hearing loss.