Covariation of Cochlear Implant Users' Perception and Production of Vowel Contrasts and Their Identification by Listeners With Normal Hearing

Vick, Jennell C.; Lane, Harlan; Perkell, Joseph S.; Matthies, Melanie L.; Gould, John; Zandipour, Majid
December 2001
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2001, Vol. 44 Issue 6, p1257
Academic Journal
This study investigates covariation of perception and production of vowel contrasts in speakers who use cochlear implants and identification of those contrasts by listeners with normal hearing. Formant measures were made of seven vowel pairs whose members are neighboring in acoustic space. The vowels were produced in carrier phrases by 8 postlingually deafened adults, before and after they received their cochlear implants (CI). Improvements in a speaker's production and perception of a given vowel contrast and normally hearing listeners' identification of that contrast in masking noise tended to occur together. Specifically, speakers who produced vowel pairs with reduced contrast in the pre-CI condition (measured by separation in the acoustic vowel space) and who showed improvement in their perception of these contrasts post-CI (measured with a phoneme identification test) were found to have enhanced production contrasts post-CI in many cases. These enhanced production contrasts were associated, in turn, with enhanced masked word recognition, as measured from responses of a group of 10 normally hearing listeners. The results support the view that restoring self-hearing allows a speaker to adjust articulatory routines to ensure sufficient perceptual contrast for listeners.


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