Articulation accuracy of children using an electrotactile speech processor

Karyn L. Galvin*, Robert S. C. Cowan, Julia Z. Sarant, Emily A. Tobey, Peter J. Blarney, Graeme M. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Use of wearable tactile speech perception devices is suggested to help overcome the difficulties in speech production resulting from severe and profound hearing impairment in children. This suggestion is based on the assumption that subjects can use tactile input in isolation, or in combination with information from residual aided hearing, to monitor and modify their speech. The present study evaluated the benefits to articulation provided through use of a multichannel electrotactile device (‘‘Tickle Talker™’’). Design: Six profoundly hearing-impaired children were videotaped speaking with the Tickle Talker on and with the Tickle Talker off during conversations with their audiologist. Five of the subjects also wore their binaural hearing aids during all recorded conversations. The number of vowels, consonants, and overall phonemes correctly articulated by each child in the two conditions were compared. Results: One subject improved articulation of initial consonants and initial phonemes; one subject improved articulation of total vowels, total consonants, initial consonants, total phonemes, and initial phonemes; and a third subject improved articulation of total vowels and medial phonemes. Conclusions: Use of on-line tactile feedback from the Tickle Talker may benefit the articulation accuracy of some children, and the device may therefore be suitable to use with children who have not responded to more traditional speech training techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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