Effects of Stimulus Bandwidth on the Imitation of English Fricatives by Normal-Hearing Children

Stelmachowicz, Patricia G.; Nishi, Kanae; Sangsook Choi; Lewis, Dawna E.; Hoover, Brenda M.; Dierking, Darcia; Lotto, Andrew
October 2008
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2008, Vol. 51 Issue 5, p1369
Academic Journal
Purpose: Recent studies from the authors' laboratory have suggested that reduced audibility in the high frequencies (because of the bandwidth of hearing instruments) may play a role in the delays in phonological development often exhibited by children with hearing impairment. The goal of the current study was to extend previous findings on the effect of bandwidth on fricatives/affricates to more complex stimuli. Method: Nine fricatives/affricates embedded in 2-syllable nonsense words were filtered at 5 and 10 kHz and presented to normal-hearing 6- to 7-year-olds who repeated words exactly as heard. Responses were recorded for subsequent phonetic and acoustic analyses. Results: Significant effects of talker gender and bandwidth were found, with better performance for the male talker and the wider bandwidth condition. In contrast to previous studies, relatively small (5%) mean bandwidth effects were observed for /s/ and /z/ spoken by the female talker. Acoustic analyses of stimuli used in the previous and the current studies failed to explain this discrepancy. Conclusions: It appears likely that a combination of factors (i.e., dynamic cues, prior phonotactic knowledge, and perhaps other unidentified cues to fricative identity) may have facilitated the perception of these complex nonsense words in the current study.


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