Improved electrotactile speech processor: Tickle talker

R. S C Cowan*, K. L. Galvin, J. Z. Sarant, R. Millard, P. J. Blamey, G. M. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Tickle Talker, an eight-channel electrotactile speech processor, has been developed from continuing research at the University of Melbourne. The development of the device has focused on production of reliable speech- processing hardware, design of cosmetically and ergonometrically acceptable electrode transducers, implementation of acute and chronic biomedical studies demonstrating device safety, design and testing of alternative speech- encoding strategies to provide benefit to speech perception and production, and design and testing of appropriate training methods for optimizing benefits. The Tickle Talker has been shown to provide benefits in supplementing lipreading or aided residual hearing for hearing-impaired adults and children. Improvements in speech processing have resulted in an increase in benefits to speech perception, and open the way for more flexible approaches to encoding speech input. Continuing development of the electrode circuitry has now produced a device that is robust and has an extended battery life. Safety studies have clearly demonstrated that there are no long-term contraindications to device use. The results suggest that the device has a role to play in rehabilitation programs for severely and profoundly hearing-impaired adults and children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-456
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number9 (Suppl. 166)
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1995


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