Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education

First Advisor

Lauri Nelson

Second Advisor

Sonia Manuel-Dupont

Third Advisor

Raymond Veon

Abstract

This research thesis will 1) provide an overview of the psychoacoustics of music perception, particularly as related to the properties of pitch perception in young children and 2) describe the methods and outcomes of an exploratory study to evaluate the efficacy of obtaining pitch perception data from preschool age children with hearing loss. Each child completed a series of three tasks, including coaching and practice, single note perception, and pitch contrasts. All of the children readily understood the single-note pitch perception task. Pitch contrast performance across participants ranged from 50% to 96% correct for the first data collection period and 63% to 100% correct for the second data collection period. These exploratory findings suggested the procedures employed for the current study can result in reliable single-note pitch identification and pitch perception contrast data with most study subjects as young as age four. The next phase of the study will involve a larger number of participants ranging in ages three to six, including children with normal hearing. The study will utilize similar baseline procedures for pitch identification and pitch contrast, with implementation of a pitch intervention curriculum. Procedures will also incorporate expressive pitch production tasks to combine both expressive and receptive components of pitch perception as a function of speech perception and production. By embedding music across the curriculum, it is theorized that preschoolers who are DHH will gain more access to the temporal aspects of music, resulting in improved pitch perception and speech production outcomes.

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