Cochlear implant is a revolutionary treatment that can now be applied from infancy through adulthood to rehabilitate hearing, communication, and spoken language. Due to the ferromagnetic components of the cochlear implant (CI), functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is the most suitable neuroimaging technique to monitor the outcomes of brain plasticity and reorganization for language and hearing in the CI patients.
The focus of this project is to improve our efforts in helping children learn language, who have cochlear implants. We do so by studying how children with Cochlear Implant learn languages successfully at a young age. We examine the features of the phonological processes that are especially vulnerable in children with CI, especially when it comes to intonation and rhyming. Our hypothesis is that children, who are more effective at engaging language-specific learning processes rather than using general learning methods such as memory and attention, are more successful at learning language with CI. To explore this hypothesis, we use functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Neuroimaging (fNIRS) in combination with language and cognitive tasks. The findings will reveal sources of individual variation in language acquisition and how to capitalize on that variation to help children learn.