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J Rehabil Res Dev. 1987 Fall;24(4):239-60.

A microprocessor-based acoustic hearing aid for the profoundly impaired listener.

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Department of Phonetics & Linguistics, University College London, England.


We have found that the larynx-frequency pattern of speech presented as a sinusoid can be of greater communicative value to profoundly hearing-impaired people than the complete acoustic signal. The presence of higher harmonics can give poorer labelling of isolated intonation contrasts and often minimal gain in segmental spectrally-based distinctions. These observations have led to the development of a practical, body-worn, pattern-processing hearing aid that uses a microprocessor to sense the (analogue-processed) speech fundamental frequency, transform it into an appropriate amplitude and frequency region, and generate digitally the required output sinusoid. Our findings have important implications for the design of other signal-processing hearing aids in demonstrating that a simplification of speech can lead to enhanced speech receptive abilities in persons with impaired hearing.

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