Emergence of a Vowel System in a Young Cochlear Implant Recipient This report chronicles changes in vowel production by a congenitally deaf child who received a multichannel cochlear implant at 19 months. The emergence of Hannah’s vowel system was monitored by transcribing vocalic segments from spontaneous utterances produced during two 30-minute recording sessions before implant surgery and 12 monthly recording sessions ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2001
Emergence of a Vowel System in a Young Cochlear Implant Recipient
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David J. Ertmer, PhD
    Audiology and Speech Sciences Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: dertmer@purdue.edu
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2001
Emergence of a Vowel System in a Young Cochlear Implant Recipient
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2001, Vol. 44, 803-813. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/063)
History: Received July 14, 2000 , Accepted April 5, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2001, Vol. 44, 803-813. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/063)
History: Received July 14, 2000; Accepted April 5, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 20

This report chronicles changes in vowel production by a congenitally deaf child who received a multichannel cochlear implant at 19 months. The emergence of Hannah’s vowel system was monitored by transcribing vocalic segments from spontaneous utterances produced during two 30-minute recording sessions before implant surgery and 12 monthly recording sessions after her implant was activated. Vowel types were included in her inventory whenever transcribers independently agreed that a vocalization contained an allophone of a given vowel type. Hannah exhibited three vowel types before implantation. A total of nine different vowel types were observed during her first year of implant experience, and a full range of place and height categories was represented. Acoustic analyses revealed that Hannah's vowel space was near normal in size and that the formant structures of /i/ and /u/ were distinctive from other point vowels. Formant regions for /æ/ and /α/ showed some overlap. Taken together with a previous report of her vocal development (D. J. Ertmer & J. A. Mellon, 2001), Hannah appears to have made substantial progress in speech development during her first year of implant use.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported through funds from the Deafness Research Foundation, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (1R03DC04226-01A1) and a Faculty Incentive Grant from the School of Liberal Arts, Purdue University. The contributions of Jennifer Mellon, Claire Johnson, and Mandilyn Myers in data analysis and manuscript preparation are gratefully acknowledged. A special thank you is extended to Hannah and her family for their continued support of this project.
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