Recognition of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal and Hearing-Impaired Subjects The purpose of this study was to investigate the sufficient perceptual cues used in the recognition of four voiceless fricative consonants [s, f, θ, ∫] followed by the same vowel [i:] in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adult listeners. Subjects identified the four CV speech tokens in a closed-set response task across ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1990
Recognition of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal and Hearing-Impaired Subjects
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Fan-Gang Zeng
    Communication Sciences and Disorders, Syracuse University
  • Christopher W. Turner
    Communication Sciences and Disorders, Syracuse University
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Fan-Gang Zeng, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Syracuse University, 805 South Crouse Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13244-2280.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1990
Recognition of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal and Hearing-Impaired Subjects
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 440-449. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.440
History: Received April 7, 1989 , Accepted January 29, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 440-449. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.440
History: Received April 7, 1989; Accepted January 29, 1990

The purpose of this study was to investigate the sufficient perceptual cues used in the recognition of four voiceless fricative consonants [s, f, θ, ∫] followed by the same vowel [i:] in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adult listeners. Subjects identified the four CV speech tokens in a closed-set response task across a range of presentation levels. Fricative syllables were either produced by a human speaker in the natural stimulus set, or generated by a computer program in the synthetic stimulus set. By comparing conditions in which the subjects were presented with equivalent degrees of audibility for individual fricatives, it was possible to isolate the factor of lack of audibility from that of loss of suprathreshold discriminability. Results indicate that (a) the frication burst portion may serve as a sufficient cue for correct recognition of voiceless fricatives by normal-hearing subjects, whereas the more intense CV transition portion, though it may not be necessary, can also assist these subjects to distinguish place information, particularly at low presentation levels; (b) hearing-impaired subjects achieved close-to-normal recognition performance when given equivalent degrees of audibility of the frication cue, but they obtained poorer-than-normal performance if only given equivalent degrees of audibility of the transition cue; (c) the difficulty that hearing-impaired subjects have in perceiving fricatives under normal circumstances may be due to two factors: the lack of audibility of the frication cue and the loss of discriminability of the transition cue.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported in part by a grant from the Syracuse University Senate Research Grant Awards, the Deafness Research Foundation, and NIH grant NS24175. The authors thank Edward Conture for a detailed and critical reading of an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank the associate editor, Arlene Carney, and the other two reviewers for their helpful suggestions in organizing the final version of the manuscript.
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