Discrimination of Speech Sounds Based Upon Temporal Envelope Versus Fine Structure Cues in 5- to 7-Year-Old Children Purpose To investigate the capacity of young children and adults with normal hearing to discriminate speech on the basis of either relatively slow (temporal envelope, E) or fast (temporal fine structure, TFS) auditory cues. Method Vowel-consonant-vowel nonsense disyllables were processed to preserve either the E or the TFS ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2009
Discrimination of Speech Sounds Based Upon Temporal Envelope Versus Fine Structure Cues in 5- to 7-Year-Old Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Josiane Bertoncini
    Centre de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France
  • Willy Serniclaes
    Centre de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France
  • Christian Lorenzi
    Centre de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France
  • Contact author: Josiane Bertoncini, LPP CNRS, Université Paris Descartes, 45 rue des Saints Pères, 75006 Paris, France. E-mail: josiane.bertoncini@parisdescartes.fr.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2009
Discrimination of Speech Sounds Based Upon Temporal Envelope Versus Fine Structure Cues in 5- to 7-Year-Old Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 682-695. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0273)
History: Received December 18, 2007 , Revised June 11, 2008 , Accepted September 30, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 682-695. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0273)
History: Received December 18, 2007; Revised June 11, 2008; Accepted September 30, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 18

Purpose To investigate the capacity of young children and adults with normal hearing to discriminate speech on the basis of either relatively slow (temporal envelope, E) or fast (temporal fine structure, TFS) auditory cues.

Method Vowel-consonant-vowel nonsense disyllables were processed to preserve either the E or the TFS information in 16 adjacent frequency bands. The band signals were then recombined and resulting stimuli were presented for discrimination to adults or 5-, 6-, and 7-year-old children using an odd-ball paradigm. Discrimination scores (d′) and response latencies were measured in each listener. No training was given to listeners.

Results Overall, discrimination scores were high (d′ ≥1) in all speech-processing conditions, and did not differ across age groups. Overall, and irrespective of age, greater discrimination scores and shorter response latencies were observed for E speech than for TFS speech.

Conclusions These results suggest that normal-hearing children are able to encode and use E and TFS speech cues at adult levels by the age of 5 years. TFS- and E-coded speech stimuli might therefore prove to be a useful tool for the investigation of the developmental time course of speech perception, and for the early diagnosis of peripheral and central auditory processing disorders.

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