Kanae Nishi directs Project 2 which explores speech communication by Spanish-English bilinguals who are hard-of-hearing. According to The U.S. Census Bureau, about 25% of children five years and younger in the US are of Hispanic/Latino background (2012). While reduced communication skills can limit success in the classroom or in a work environment even for monolingual children, limited knowledge of English combined with diminished hearing can be extremely detrimental for learning outcomes of bilingual children.
This project has two Specific Aims:
This aim will uncover the influences of contextual information, background noise and listener characteristics on speech perception for native English speakers and bilingual speakers with normal hearing.
This aim will examine the influence of diminished hearing on speech perception for bilingual listeners. Results from Aims 1 and 2 will be compared to quantify how the interaction between potentially limited English-language skills and diminished hearing should result in larger adverse effects than either variable alone.
By studying speech communication in bilingual children who are hard of hearing, for which there are no current clinical testing norms, the results of this research may increase future awareness and assistance which could lead to better learning outcomes and well-being of bilinguals.