Speech perception and verbal memory in children with and without histories of otitis media

Maria Mody, Richard G. Schwartz, Judith S. Gravel, Robert J. Ruben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Two groups of children, with (n = 7) and without (n = 7) first-year histories of otitis media, were participants in a longitudinal study that included periodic audiological and medical evaluations during the first year of life. At age 9, these children were tested on a series of speech perception and verbal short-term memory tasks using stimuli of varying degrees of phonetic contrast. Although the otitis-positive group performed less accurately than the otitis-free group, the pattern of errors was the same for the two groups. The performances of the children with and without positive histories of otitis media were negatively affected by an increase in phonetic similarity of the stimulus items. The two groups, however, did not differ on identification or on temporal-order recall when the speech sounds were differentiated by multiple features. These findings provide evidence of subtle, long-term effects of early episodes of otitis media on phonological representations and on working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1079
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Otitis media
  • Speech perception
  • Verbal memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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