Perception of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal-Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Children and Adults This study examined the perceptual-weighting strategies and performance-audibility functions of 11 moderately hearing-impaired (HI) children, 11 age-matched normal-hearing (NH) children, 11 moderately HI adults, and 11 NH adults. The purpose was to (a) determine the perceptual-weighting strategies of HI children relative to the other groups and (b) determine the audibility ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2000
Perception of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal-Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Children and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Andrea L. Pittman
    Boys Town National Research Hospital Omaha, NE
  • Patricia G. Stelmachowicz
    Boys Town National Research Hospital Omaha, NE
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: pittmana@boystown.org
  • Contact author: Andrea Pittman, PhD, Boys Town National Research Hospital, 555 North 30th Street, Omaha, NE, 68131. Email: pittmana@boystown.org
    Contact author: Andrea Pittman, PhD, Boys Town National Research Hospital, 555 North 30th Street, Omaha, NE, 68131. Email: pittmana@boystown.org×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2000
Perception of Voiceless Fricatives by Normal-Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Children and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2000, Vol. 43, 1389-1401. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4306.1389
History: Received October 26, 1999 , Accepted August 10, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2000, Vol. 43, 1389-1401. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4306.1389
History: Received October 26, 1999; Accepted August 10, 2000

This study examined the perceptual-weighting strategies and performance-audibility functions of 11 moderately hearing-impaired (HI) children, 11 age-matched normal-hearing (NH) children, 11 moderately HI adults, and 11 NH adults. The purpose was to (a) determine the perceptual-weighting strategies of HI children relative to the other groups and (b) determine the audibility required by each group to achieve a criterion level of performance. Stimuli were 4 nonsense syllables (/us/, /u∫/, /uf/, and /uθ/). The vowel, transition, and fricative segments of each nonsense syllable were identified along the temporal domain, and each segment was amplified randomly within each syllable during presentation. Point-biserial correlation coefficients were calculated using the amplitude variation of each segment and the correct and incorrect responses for the corresponding syllable. Results showed that for /us/ and /u∫/, all four groups heavily weighted the fricative segments during perception, whereas the vowel and transition segments received little or no weight. For /uf/, relatively low weights were given to each segment by all four groups. For /uθ/, the NH children and adults weighted the transition segment more so than the vowel and fricative segments, whereas the HI children and adults weighted all three segments equally low. Performance-audibility functions of the fricative segments of /us/ and /u∫/ were constructed for each group. In general, maximum performance for each group was reached at lower audibility levels for /s/ than for /∫/ and steeper functions were observed for the HI groups relative to the NH groups. A decision theory approach was used to confirm the audibility required by each group to achieve a ≥90% level of performance. Results showed both hearing sensitivity and age effects. The HI listeners required lower levels of audibility than the NH listeners to achieve similar levels of performance. Likewise, the adult listeners required lower levels of audibility than the children, although this difference was more substantial for the NH listeners than for the HI listeners.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Reinier Kortekaas for his help with the design and implementation of this study, Douglas Keefe and Eric Odgard for their assistance with the analyses and interpretation of these data, and Dawna Lewis and Donna Neff for their many helpful comments on preliminary manuscripts. This project was supported by a grant from NIH.
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