Effects of Talker Variability on Vowel Recognition in Cochlear Implants

Yi-ping Chang; Qian-Jie Fu
December 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2006, Vol. 49 Issue 6, p1331
Academic Journal
Purpose: To investigate the effects of talker variability on vowel recognition by cochlear implant (CI) users and by normal-hearing (NH) participants listening to 4-channel acoustic CI simulations. Method: CI users were tested with their clinically assigned speech processors. For NH participants, 3 CI processors were simulated, using different combinations of carrier type and temporal envelope cutoff frequency (noise band/160 Hz, sine wave/160 Hz, and sine wave/20 Hz). Vowel recognition was measured for 4 talkers, presented in either a single-talker context (1 talker per test block) or a multi-talker context (4 talkers per test block). Results: CI users' vowel recognition was significantly poorer in the multi-talker context than in the single-talker context. When noise-band carriers were used in the simulations, NH performance was not significantly affected by talker variability. However, when sine-wave carriers were used in the simulations, NH performance was significantly affected by talker variability in both envelope filter conditions. Conclusions: Because fundamental frequency was not preserved by the 20-Hz envelope filter and only partially preserved by the 160-Hz envelope filter, both spectral and temporal cues contributed to the talker variability effects observed with sine-wave carriers. Similarly, spectral and temporal cues may have contributed to the talker variability effects observed with CI participants.


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