Perception of Cantonese Lexical Tones by Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users Purpose The purpose of this study is to assess Cantonese word recognition and the discrimination of Cantonese tones with manipulated contours by child and adolescent cochlear implant (CI) users and a group of peers with normal hearing (NH). It was hypothesized that the CI users would perform more poorly than ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 23, 2018
Perception of Cantonese Lexical Tones by Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Colleen M. Holt
    Audiology and Speech Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Office of the Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor, Coursework, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia
  • Kathy Y. S. Lee
    Institute of Human Communication Research and Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China
  • Richard C. Dowell
    Audiology and Speech Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Adam P. Vogel
    Audiology and Speech Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Centre for Neuroscience of Speech, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Disclosure: Cochlear Ltd provided financial assistance but was not involved in the recruitment, design, analysis, or interpretation of data and did not exercise any editorial control over the content of this article.
    Disclosure: Cochlear Ltd provided financial assistance but was not involved in the recruitment, design, analysis, or interpretation of data and did not exercise any editorial control over the content of this article. ×
  • Correspondence to Colleen M. Holt: cholt@unimelb.edu.au
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald
    Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 23, 2018
Perception of Cantonese Lexical Tones by Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2018, Vol. 61, 174-185. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0027
History: Received January 23, 2017 , Revised July 9, 2017 , Accepted September 7, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2018, Vol. 61, 174-185. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0027
History: Received January 23, 2017; Revised July 9, 2017; Accepted September 7, 2017

Purpose The purpose of this study is to assess Cantonese word recognition and the discrimination of Cantonese tones with manipulated contours by child and adolescent cochlear implant (CI) users and a group of peers with normal hearing (NH). It was hypothesized that the CI users would perform more poorly than their counterparts with NH in both tasks and that CI users implanted before 2 years of age would perform better than those implanted after 2 years.

Method Forty-one participants were recruited from hospitals, schools, and kindergartens in Hong Kong: Ten CI users implanted at or before 2 years of age (“early” CI group), 13 CI users implanted after 2 years of age (“late” CI group), and 18 individuals with NH. The mean age at implantation of the early CI group was 1.5 years (SD = 0.3), and for the late CI group, it was 4.3 years (SD = 2.1). Participants were a mean of 13.3 years of age (SD = 3.7) at time of testing. Participants completed a Cantonese word recognition test and a discrimination task using Cantonese tones with modified fundamental frequency trajectories.

Results Both CI user groups obtained significantly lower scores than the group with NH on the word recognition test. Mean percent correct scores for the word recognition test were 79% for the early CI group, 69% for the late CI group, and 97% for the group with NH. The group with NH consistently achieved higher scores than the CI user groups when discriminating manipulated Cantonese tones. Increasing the acoustic difference between tones improved discrimination performance for CI users for level tone contrasts only. CI users implanted at or before 2 years of age obtained higher scores than those implanted later.

Conclusions The results of this study add further evidence that children using CIs do not perform as well as peers in perceiving Cantonese tones. Modification of tones to increase pitch range did not consistently improve the ability of children with implants to perceive the difference between tones. Further research is required to fully assess potential benefits of early implantation for speakers of tonal languages.

Supplemental Materials https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5782209

Acknowledgments
Ivy Lam and Rainer Lau provided administrative support. This research was supported by the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant LP13010026, for which Cochlear Ltd is the Industry Partner. Adam P. Vogel holds a Career Development Fellowship (ID 1082910) from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. The authors would like to thank all the participants and their caregivers for volunteering their time for this study. The authors thank Peggy Kan, Vivian Chau, Karen Cheung, Alison Lam, and Ginni Lam for helping with data collection and Iris Ng for audiologic testing.
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