ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

4aSC10. The acoustic characteristics of babble produced by infants with and without early onset otitis media with effusion.

Susan Rvachew

Elzbieta B. Slawinski

Dept. of Psych., Univ. of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada

Prelinguistic speech development was studied longitudinally in two groups of infants: nine infants in the early onset group experienced their first episode of otitis media with effusion (OME) at or before the age of 6 months; nine infants in the late onset group experienced no OME before 9 months of age. All children were assessed at 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months of age. Each assessment consisted of an audiometric assessment and a recording of babble/speech produced by the infant. Acoustic analysis of the babble/speech samples revealed the following: all infants showed an increase in the frequency of canonical babble with age, when canonical babble is defined according to the acoustic criteria suggested by Oller [in B. Lindblom and R. Zetterstrom (Eds.) Precursors of Early Speech (1986)]; the mean canonical babble ratio was greater for the late onset group in comparison with the early onset group at all age levels; the vowels produced by some infants with recurring or chronic OME were characterized by a restricted range of second formant values. These findings suggest that the canonical babble ratio may be a useful measure for investigating the relationship between OME and speech delay in infants and young children. [Work supported by MRC.]