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Int J Audiol. 2010 Jul;49(7):488-96. doi: 10.3109/14992021003645894.

Perceptual learning of non-native speech contrast and functioning of the olivocochlear bundle.

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Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, KMC, Attavara, Mangalore, India.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between perceptual learning of non-native speech sounds and strength of feedback in the medial olivocochlear bundle (MOCB). Discrimination abilities of non-native speech sounds (Malayalam) from its native counterparts (Hindi) were monitored during 12 days of training. Contralateral inhibition of otoacoustic emissions were measured on the first and twelfth day of training. Results suggested that training significantly improved reaction time and accuracy of identification of non-native speech sounds. There was a significant positive correlation between the slope (linear) of identification scores and change in distortion product otoacoustic emission inhibition at 3000 Hz. Findings suggest that during perceptual learning feedback from the MOCB may fine tune the brain stem and/or cochlea. However, such a change, isolated to a narrow frequency region, represents a limited effect and needs further exploration to confirm and/or extend any generalization of findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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