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J Speech Hear Res. 1992 Apr;35(2):450-65.

Analytic study of the Tadoma method: improving performance through the use of supplementary tactual displays.

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Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.


Although results obtained with the Tadoma method of speechreading have set a new standard for tactual speech communication, they are nevertheless inferior to those obtained in the normal auditory domain. Speech reception through Tadoma is comparable to that of normal-hearing subjects listening to speech under adverse conditions corresponding to a speech-to-noise ratio of roughly 0 dB. The goal of the current study was to demonstrate improvements to speech reception through Tadoma through the use of supplementary tactual information, thus leading to a new standard of performance in the tactual domain. Three supplementary tactual displays were investigated: (a) an articulatory-based display of tongue contact with the hard palate; (b) a multichannel display of the short-term speech spectrum; and (c) tactual reception of Cued Speech. The ability of laboratory-trained subjects to discriminate pairs of speech segments that are highly confused through Tadoma was studied for each of these augmental displays. Generally, discrimination tests were conducted for Tadoma alone, the supplementary display alone, and Tadoma combined with the supplementary tactual display. The results indicated that the tongue-palate contact display was an effective supplement to Tadoma for improving discrimination of consonants, but that neither the tongue-palate contact display nor the short-term spectral display was highly effective in improving vowel discriminability. For both vowel and consonant stimulus pairs, discriminability was nearly perfect for the tactual reception of the manual cues associated with Cued Speech. Further experiments on the identification of speech segments were conducted for Tadoma combined with Cued Speech. The observed data for both discrimination and identification experiments are compared with the predictions of models of integration of information from separate sources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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