Phonetic Inventory Development in Young Cochlear Implant Users 6 Years Postoperation Increases in the phonetic inventories of a group of 9 children in the fifth and sixth years of experience with a cochlear implant are reported, extending a previous 4-year study (T. A. Serry & P. J. Blamey, 1999). Thirty-six out of 44 phones in Australian English reached the criterion of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2001
Phonetic Inventory Development in Young Cochlear Implant Users 6 Years Postoperation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peter J. Blamey
    Department of Otolaryngology University of Melbourne East Melbourne, Australia
  • Johanna G. Barry
    Department of Otolaryngology University of Melbourne East Melbourne, Australia
  • Pascale Jacq
    Department of Otolaryngology University of Melbourne East Melbourne, Australia
  • Contact author: Peter J. Blamey, PhD, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Melbourne, 384 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia. Email: p.blamey@medoto.unimelb.edu.au
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2001
Phonetic Inventory Development in Young Cochlear Implant Users 6 Years Postoperation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2001, Vol. 44, 73-79. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/007)
History: Received December 13, 1999 , Accepted October 20, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2001, Vol. 44, 73-79. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/007)
History: Received December 13, 1999; Accepted October 20, 2000
Web of Science® Times Cited: 41

Increases in the phonetic inventories of a group of 9 children in the fifth and sixth years of experience with a cochlear implant are reported, extending a previous 4-year study (T. A. Serry & P. J. Blamey, 1999). Thirty-six out of 44 phones in Australian English reached the criterion of 50% correct in the conversational samples of 5 or more children. This level of performance corresponds to intelligible, but not completely natural, speech. The rate of improvement in the sixth year was slow, indicating a probable plateau in performance. The 8 phones that did not attain the 50% criterion in 5 or more children were /I, , , t, s, z, , θ/. Potential reasons for the slow development or nondevelopment of these phones include very low frequency of occurrence for /I, , / and the perceptual and articulatory characteristics of /t, s, z, , θ/. /t/ is also subject to a high degree of allophonic variation in the fluent speech of normally hearing speakers, probably accounting for much of the variability in its articulation in the conversational samples.

Acknowledgments
The authors acknowledge the assistance of the children, their families, and the staff of the University of Melbourne/ Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Cochlear Implant Clinic. Maria Grogan and Tanya Serry transcribed the language samples from the first 4 years of the study. Financial support for the study was provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council project grant #970257. The research was covered by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (Project 96/289H).
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