Phonemic information transmitted by a multichannel electrotractile speech processor

P. J. Blamey, R. S.C. Cowan, J. I. Alcantara, G. M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A wearable electrotactile speech processor was evaluated in a study with seven normally hearing and four hearing-impaired subjects. The processor estimated the fundamental frequency, the second-formant frequency, and amplitude of the acoustic speech signal. These parameters were presented as a pattern of electrical pulses applied to eight electrodes positioned over the digital nerve bundles on one hand. The device was shown to provide useful information for the recognition of phonemes in closed sets of words using tactile information alone. The device also supplemented lipreading to improve the recognition of open-set words. The recognition of duration and first- and second-format frequencies of vowels and the recognition of voicing and manner of consonants were improved over recognition with lipreading alone. Recognition of final consonants was improved more than recognition of initial consonants. These results indicate that the device may be useful to both severely and profoundly hearing-impaired people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-629
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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