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Acta Otolaryngol. 2013 Jan;133(1):47-54. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2012.705438.

Mandarin lexical tone recognition in sensorineural hearing-impaired listeners and cochlear implant users.

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  • 1Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, Key Laboratory of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Capital Medical University), Ministry of Education, Beijing, China.



As the hearing loss becomes more severe, the tone recognition performance of hearing-impaired listeners gradually but slowly reduces. The tone recognition performance of cochlear implant listeners is below or close to the performance of severely hearing-impaired listeners.


The present study aimed to investigate the Mandarin lexical tone recognition performance of sensorineural hearing-impaired listeners and post-lingually deafened cochlear implant users.


Tone recognition performance was measured for 30 normal-hearing subjects, 41sensorineural hearing-impaired listeners, and 12 cochlear implant users using 128 monosyllables recorded by a male and a female adult native Mandarin speaker.


The results indicated that the accuracy of tone recognition was 99.3%, 96.4%, 93.7%, 83.9%, and 81.0% for the normal-hearing, moderate, moderate to severe, severely hearing-impaired, and cochlear implant subjects, respectively. For the hearing-impaired subjects, a significantly negative correlation was observed between tone recognition performance and the audiometric hearing thresholds. For cochlear implant subjects, Tone 3 was the easiest one to perceive and Tone 2 was the hardest one to perceive. They tended to misperceive Tone 1 as Tone 2, and misperceive Tone 2 as Tones 1 and 3.

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