Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Rory DePaolis


Previous studies across a variety of different languages have shown that eleven-month-olds tested via the head-turn preference paradigm show a preference for familiar words over unfamiliar words, as demonstrated by longer look times. This study examined the effect of chronic otitis media on the preference for familiar over unfamiliar words. Nine eleven-month-old children (mean age 342 days, SD = 9.61) with chronic ear infections, defined as three or more diagnoses before the test date, were tested using wordlists adapted from a study performed by Vihman et al. (2004). Children with a history of chronic otitis media did not show a preference towards either unfamiliar or familiar wordlists (t(8) = 0.668, p = .523) as did their fellow American peers without chronic otitis media in unpublished data from our lab (t(11)= 2.915, p = .014). When combined with other language limiting factors such as low socioeconomic status or potential learning disabilities, additional professional support may be warranted. More research is required before specific recommendations can be made; however, this research provides the foundation for further analysis of the effects chronic otitis media has on early language learning.



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