Vocal Emotion Identification by Children Using Cochlear Implants, Relations to Voice Quality, and Musical Interests Purpose Listening tests for emotion identification were conducted with 8–17-year-old children with hearing impairment (HI; N = 25) using cochlear implants, and their 12-year-old peers with normal hearing (N = 18). The study examined the impact of musical interests and acoustics of the stimuli on correct emotion identification. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 17, 2018
Vocal Emotion Identification by Children Using Cochlear Implants, Relations to Voice Quality, and Musical Interests
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teija Waaramaa
    Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET), Faculty of Communication Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland
  • Tarja Kukkonen
    Faculty of Social Sciences/Logopedics, University of Tampere, Finland
  • Sari Mykkänen
    Hearing Centre, Tampere University Hospital, Finland
  • Ahmed Geneid
    Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Phoniatrics–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland
  • 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 Teija Waaramaa: teija.waaramaa@uta.fi
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Jennifer Lentz
    Editor: Jennifer Lentz×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 17, 2018
Vocal Emotion Identification by Children Using Cochlear Implants, Relations to Voice Quality, and Musical Interests
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 973-985. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0054
History: Received February 9, 2017 , Revised July 16, 2017 , Accepted December 11, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 973-985. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0054
History: Received February 9, 2017; Revised July 16, 2017; Accepted December 11, 2017

Purpose Listening tests for emotion identification were conducted with 8–17-year-old children with hearing impairment (HI; N = 25) using cochlear implants, and their 12-year-old peers with normal hearing (N = 18). The study examined the impact of musical interests and acoustics of the stimuli on correct emotion identification.

Method The children completed a questionnaire with their background information and noting musical interests. They then listened to vocal stimuli produced by actors (N = 5) and consisting of nonsense sentences and prolonged vowels ([a:], [i:], and [u:]; N = 32) expressing excitement, anger, contentment, and fear. The children's task was to identify the emotions they heard in the sample by choosing from the provided options. Acoustics of the samples were studied using Praat software, and statistics were examined using SPSS 24 software.

Results The children with HI identified the emotions with 57% accuracy and the normal hearing children with 75% accuracy. Female listeners were more accurate than male listeners in both groups. Those who were implanted before age of 3 years identified emotions more accurately than others (p < .05). No connection between the child's audiogram and correct identification was observed. Musical interests and voice quality parameters were found to be related to correct identification.

Conclusions Implantation age, musical interests, and voice quality tended to have an impact on correct emotion identification. Thus, in developing the cochlear implants, it may be worth paying attention to the acoustic structures of vocal emotional expressions, especially the formant frequency of F3. Supporting the musical interests of children with HI may help their emotional development and improve their social lives.

Acknowledgements
This study was supported by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The authors extend their gratitude to the study participants, their parents and caretakers, and to Tampere University Hospital for their cooperation. Special thanks also go to the volunteer actors for providing the samples, to Tiina Syrjä, D.A., for recruiting the actors, and to Nuutti Vapaavuori, M.A., for recording and editing the samples.
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