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J Acoust Soc Am. 2003 Feb;113(2):1056-64.

Evaluating the function of phonetic perceptual phenomena within speech recognition: an examination of the perception of /d/-/t/ by adult cochlear implant users.

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Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, London NW1 2HE, England.


This study examined whether cochlear implant users must perceive differences along phonetic continua in the same way as do normal hearing listeners (i.e., sharp identification functions, poor within-category sensitivity, high between-category sensitivity) in order to recognize speech accurately. Adult postlingually deafened cochlear implant users, who were heterogeneous in terms of their implants and processing strategies, were tested on two phonetic perception tasks using a synthetic /da/-/ta/ continuum (phoneme identification and discrimination) and two speech recognition tasks using natural recordings from ten talkers (open-set word recognition and forced-choice /d/-/t/ recognition). Cochlear implant users tended to have identification boundaries and sensitivity peaks at voice onset times (VOT) that were longer than found for normal-hearing individuals. Sensitivity peak locations were significantly correlated with individual differences in cochlear implant performance; individuals who had a /d/-/t/ sensitivity peak near normal-hearing peak locations were most accurate at recognizing natural recordings of words and syllables. However, speech recognition was not strongly related to identification boundary locations or to overall levels of discrimination performance. The results suggest that perceptual sensitivity affects speech recognition accuracy, but that many cochlear implant users are able to accurately recognize speech without having typical normal-hearing patterns of phonetic perception.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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