Research Article

A comparative study of metaphorical expression understanding between children with cochlear implants and normal children


Background and Aim: Understanding abstract concepts, especially metaphors in daily life and education is a complex conceptual phenomenon. Early hearing damages can affect an individual’s understanding of metaphors and their functions in different ways. This study aimed to compare the understanding levels of metaphorical expressions between children with cochlear implants (CIs) and normal children.
Methods: In this study, 35 children with CIs were compared with 35 normal children in terms of understanding metaphorical expressions. Two groups were matched in terms of gender and age. The children with hearing problems received their implants when they were two to five years old. Both groups of children were evaluated using a researcher-made test. Finally, the data collected through the participants’ responses to the test items were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the independent samples t test.
Results: There was a significant difference in understanding metaphorical and simile expressions between children with CIs and the normal children (p<0.05) in favor of the normal children. The mean±SD scores for the metaphorical and simile expressions in normal children were 9.57±1.78 and 8.11±2.39 while in children with CIs, they were 5.34±2.35 and 6.17±3.24, respectively.
Conclusion: Although the cochlear implantation improves the auditory perception of deaf children, the perception of children with CIs was found to be weaker than normal children. Apparently, these children have spent several years of their lives without hearing, and this deprivation is likely to affect their understanding.

1. Golfam A, Yoosefirad F. [Cognitive linguistics and metaphors]. Advances in Cognitive Science. 2002;4(3):59-64. Persian.
2. Lakoff G, Johnson M. Metaphors we live by. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1980.
3. Sharifi S, Hamedi Shirvan Z. [Cognitive linguistics framework and analysis of metaphor in children and youngster's literature]. Thinking and Children. 2011;1(2):39-63. Persian.
4. Slingerland E, Blanchard EM, Boyd-Judson L. Collision with China: conceptual metaphor analysis, somatic marking, and the EP-3 incident. Int Stud Q. 2007;51(1):53-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2007.00439.x
5. Lachaud CM. Conceptual metaphors and embodied cognition: EEG coherence reveals brain activity differences between primary and complex conceptual metaphors during comprehension. Cogn Syst Res. 2013;22-23:12-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2012.08.003
6. Crawford LE. Conceptual metaphors of affect. Emot Rev. 2009;1(2):129-39.
7. Yang FPG, Bradley K, Huq M, Wu DL, Krawczyk DC. Contextual effects on conceptual blending in metaphors: an event-related potential study. J Neurolinguistics. 2013;26(2):312-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2012.10.004
8. Dunn CC, Walker EA, Oleson J, Kenworthy M, Van Voorst T, Tomblin JB, et al. Longitudinal speech perception and language performance in pediatric cochlear implant users: the effect of age at implantation. Ear Hear. 2014;35(2):148-60. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3182a4a8f0
9. Li Q, Xia S, Zhao F, Qi J. Functional changes in people with different hearing status and experiences of using Chinese sign language: an fMRI study. J Commun Disord. 2014;50:51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2014.05.001
10. Peng SC, Tomblin JB, Turner CW. Production and perception of speech intonation in pediatric cochlear implant recipients and individuals with normal hearing. Ear Hear. 2008;29(3):336-51. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e318168d94d
11. Møller AR. History of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants. In: Møller AR, editor. Cochlear and brainstem implants (Advances in Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Vol. 64). 1st ed. Basel: S. Karger; 2006. p. 1-10.
12. Chin SB. Aspects of stop consonant production by pediatric users of cochlear implants. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2002;33(1):38-51. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461(2002/004)
13. Bosco E, Mancini P, D'Agosta L, Ballantyne D, Filipo R. Schooling and educational performance in children and adolescents wearing cochlear implants. Cochlear Implants Int. 2005;6(3):147-56. doi: 10.1179/cim.2005.6.3.147
14. Hashemi SB, Monshizadeh L, Alipour A. [Effects of cochlear implantation and associated rehabilitation services on the development of verbal and non-verbal intelligence of 6-9 years old deaf children with cochlear implants]. Koomesh. 2011;13(1):93-9. Persian.
15. Nicastri M, Filipo R, Ruoppolo G, Viccaro M, Dincer H, Guerzoni L, et al. Inferences and metaphoric comprehension in unilaterally implanted children with adequate formal oral language performance. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014;78(5):821-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2014.02.022
16. Ambrose SE, Unflat Berry LM, Walker EA, Harrison M, Oleson J, Moeller MP. Speech sound production in 2-year-olds who are hard of hearing. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2014;23(2):91-104. doi: 10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0039
17. Giang DL, Inho C. Comprehension of figurative language by hearing impaired children in special primary schools. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2015;191(2):506-11. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.448
18. Rittenhouse RK, Stearns K. Teaching metaphor to deaf children. Am Ann Deaf. 1982;127(1):12-7.
19. Mohammadi R, Shirazi T, Nilipour R, Rahgozar M, Pourshahbaz A. [A comparison of metaphoric expressions comprehension in mainstreaming students with severe hearing impairment and hearing students of junior high school]. Journal of Rehabilitation. 2010;11(3):50-7. Persian.
20. Mehri A, Nili-pour R, Karimlou M. [Comparison of pragmatic competence and performance in two groups of deaf and normal students]. Journal of Rehabilitation. 2006;7(3):38-43. Persian.
IssueVol 27 No 3 (2018) QRcode
SectionResearch Article(s)
Conceptual metaphors perception hearing loss cochlear implantation

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Bahrami H, Faramarzi S, Amouzadeh M. A comparative study of metaphorical expression understanding between children with cochlear implants and normal children. Aud Vestib Res. 27(3):131-136.