Influence of Voice Similarity on Talker Discrimination in Children With Normal Hearing and Children With Cochlear Implants The perception of voice similarity was examined in 5-year-old children with normal hearing sensitivity and in pediatric cochlear implant users, 5–12 years of age. Recorded sentences were manipulated to form a continuum of similar-sounding voices. An adaptive procedure was then used to determine how acoustically different, in terms of average ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   February 01, 2005
Influence of Voice Similarity on Talker Discrimination in Children With Normal Hearing and Children With Cochlear Implants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Miranda Cleary
    Indiana University-Bloomington
  • David B. Pisoni
    Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Karen Iler Kirk
    Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Contact author: Miranda Cleary, Speech and Hearing Sciences, City University of New York Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016-4309.
    Contact author: Miranda Cleary, Speech and Hearing Sciences, City University of New York Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016-4309.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: mcleary@gc.cuny.edu
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2005
Influence of Voice Similarity on Talker Discrimination in Children With Normal Hearing and Children With Cochlear Implants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 204-223. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/015)
History: Received June 11, 2003 , Accepted May 11, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 204-223. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/015)
History: Received June 11, 2003; Accepted May 11, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 29

The perception of voice similarity was examined in 5-year-old children with normal hearing sensitivity and in pediatric cochlear implant users, 5–12 years of age. Recorded sentences were manipulated to form a continuum of similar-sounding voices. An adaptive procedure was then used to determine how acoustically different, in terms of average fundamental and formant frequencies, 2 sentences needed to be for a child to categorize the sentences as spoken by 2 different talkers. The average spectral characteristics of 2 utterances (including their fundamental frequencies) needed to differ by at least 11%–16% (2–2.5 semitones) for normal-hearing children to perceive the voices as belonging to different talkers. Introducing differences in the linguistic content of the 2 sentences to be compared did not change performance. Although several children with cochlear implants performed similarly to normal-hearing children, most found the task very difficult. Pediatric cochlear implant users who scored above the group mean of 64% of words correct on a monosyllabic open-set word identification task categorized the voices more like children with normal hearing sensitivity.

Acknowledgments
Miranda Cleary is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The authors would like to thank the children and parents who participated in this research and the staff of DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory at the Indiana University School of Medicine and of the Speech Research Laboratory at Indiana University–Bloomington for their help in this project. We wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Diane Kewley-Port, Luis Hernandez, Linette Caldwell, Terri Kerr, Caitlin Dillon, and Darla Sallee in various aspects of this project. We also thank Hideki Kawahara for kindly allowing us to use his STRAIGHT speech resynthesis algorithms.
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Training Grant T32DC00012 and NIDCD Research Grants R01DC00111 and R01DC00064 to Indiana University, and also by an Indiana University Dissertation Grant-in-Aid of Research to the first author.
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