On the Structure of Phoneme Categories in Listeners With Cochlear Implants Purpose To describe cochlear implant users' phoneme labeling, discrimination, and prototypes for a vowel and a sibilant contrast, and to assess the effects of 1 year’s experience with prosthetic hearing. Method Based on naturally produced clear examples of “boot,” “beet,” “said,” and “shed” by 1 male and 1 ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   February 01, 2007
On the Structure of Phoneme Categories in Listeners With Cochlear Implants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Harlan Lane
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Margaret Denny
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Frank H. Guenther
    Boston University, Boston, MA, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Helen M. Hanson
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Nicole Marrone
    Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Melanie L. Matthies
    Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Joseph S. Perkell
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University
  • Ellen Stockmann
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mark Tiede
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Jennell Vick
    University of Washington, Seattle, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Majid Zandipour
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University
  • Contact author: Harlan Lane, Speech Communication Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 36-511, 50 Vassar Street, Cambridge MA 02139. E-mail: harlan@speech.mit.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2007
On the Structure of Phoneme Categories in Listeners With Cochlear Implants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2007, Vol. 50, 2-14. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/001)
History: Received May 28, 2005 , Revised November 9, 2005 , Accepted May 8, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2007, Vol. 50, 2-14. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/001)
History: Received May 28, 2005; Revised November 9, 2005; Accepted May 8, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose To describe cochlear implant users' phoneme labeling, discrimination, and prototypes for a vowel and a sibilant contrast, and to assess the effects of 1 year’s experience with prosthetic hearing.

Method Based on naturally produced clear examples of “boot,” “beet,” “said,” and “shed” by 1 male and 1 female speaker, continua with 13 stimuli were synthesized for each contrast. Seven hearing controls labeled those stimuli and assigned them goodness ratings, as did 7 implant users at 1-month postimplant. One year later, these measures were repeated, and within category discrimination, d′, was assessed.

Results Compared with controls, implant users' vowel and sibilant labeling slopes were substantially shallower but improved over 1 year of prosthesis use. Their sensitivity to phonetic differences within phoneme categories was about half that of controls. The slopes of their goodness rating functions were shallower and did not improve. Their prototypes for the sibilant contrast (but not the vowels) were closer to one another and did not improve by moving apart.

Conclusions Implant users' phoneme labeling and within-category perceptual structure were anomalous at 1-month postimplant. After 1 year of prosthesis use, phoneme labeling categories had sharpened but within category discrimination was well below that of hearing controls.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grant R01-DC003007 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We are grateful to Donald Eddington of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and to Daniel Lee of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, for referring cochlear implant users to our study. We acknowledge with pleasure helpful advice from Joanne Miller, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University. After the first author’s name, the order of the authors is alphabetical.
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