The Use of Voice Cues for Speaker Gender Recognition in Cochlear Implant Recipients Purpose The focus of this study was to examine the influence of fundamental frequency (F0) and vocal tract length (VTL) modifications on speaker gender recognition in cochlear implant (CI) recipients for different stimulus types. Method Single words and sentences were manipulated using isolated or combined F0 and VTL ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2016
The Use of Voice Cues for Speaker Gender Recognition in Cochlear Implant Recipients
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hartmut Meister
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT Research, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Katrin Fürsen
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT Research, University of Cologne, Germany
    Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, and Cochlear Implant Centre Cologne, Germany
  • Barbara Streicher
    Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, and Cochlear Implant Centre Cologne, Germany
  • Ruth Lang-Roth
    Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, and Cochlear Implant Centre Cologne, Germany
  • Martin Walger
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT Research, University of Cologne, Germany
    Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, and Cochlear Implant Centre Cologne, Germany
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Hartmut Meister: hartmut.meister@uni-koeln.de
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Richard Dowell
    Associate Editor: Richard Dowell×
Article Information
Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2016
The Use of Voice Cues for Speaker Gender Recognition in Cochlear Implant Recipients
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 546-556. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-15-0128
History: Received April 8, 2015 , Revised September 1, 2015 , Accepted September 23, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 546-556. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-15-0128
History: Received April 8, 2015; Revised September 1, 2015; Accepted September 23, 2015

Purpose The focus of this study was to examine the influence of fundamental frequency (F0) and vocal tract length (VTL) modifications on speaker gender recognition in cochlear implant (CI) recipients for different stimulus types.

Method Single words and sentences were manipulated using isolated or combined F0 and VTL cues. Using an 11-point rating scale, CI recipients and listeners with normal hearing rated the maleness/femaleness of the corresponding voice.

Results Speaker gender ratings for combined F0 and VTL modifications were similar across all stimulus types in both CI recipients and listeners with normal hearing, although the CI recipients showed a somewhat larger ambiguity. In contrast to listeners with normal hearing, F0-VTL and F0-only modifications revealed similar ratings in the CI recipients when using words as stimuli. However, when sentences were used, a difference was found between F0-VTL–based and F0-based ratings. Modifying VTL cues alone did not affect ratings in the CI group.

Conclusions Whereas speaker gender ratings by listeners with normal hearing relied on combined VTL and F0 cues, CI recipients made only limited use of VTL cues, which might be one reason behind problems with identifying the speaker on the basis of voice. However, use of the voice cues depended on stimulus type, with the greater information in sentences allowing a more detailed analysis than single words in both listener groups.

Acknowledgments
This study was partially funded by a research grant from Med-El, Innsbruck, Austria, to authors Hartmut Meister and Martin Walger. Portions of this research were presented at the 15th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Audiology, Erlangen, March 8, 2012.
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