Speech perception studies using a multichannel electrotactile speech processor, residual hearing, and lipreading

R. S C Cowan, J. I. Alcantara, L. A. Whitford, P. J. Blarney, G. M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Three studies are reported on the speech perception of normally hearing and hearing-impaired adults using combinations of visual, auditory, and tactile input. In study 1, mean scores for four normally hearing subjects showed that addition of tactile information, provided through the multichannel electrotactile speech processor, to either audition alone (300-Hz low-pass-filtered speech) or lipreading plus audition resulted in significant improvements in phoneme and word discrimination scores. Information transmission analyses demonstrated the effectiveness of the tactile aid in providing cues to duration, F1 and F2 features for vowels, and manner of articulation features for consonants, especially features requiring detection and discrimination of high-frequency information. In study 2, six different cutoff frequencies were used for a low-pass-filtered auditory signal. Mean scores for vowel and consonant identification were significantly higher with the addition of tactile input to audition alone at each cutoff frequency up to 1500 Hz. The mean speechtracking rate was also significantly increased by the additional tactile input up to 1500 Hz. Study 3 examined speech discrimination of three hearing-impaired adults. Additional information available through the tactile aid was shown to improve speech discrimination scores; however, the degree of increase was inversely related to the level of residual hearing. Results indicate that the electrotactile aid may be useful for patients with little residual hearing and for the severely to profoundly hearing impaired, who could benefit from the high-frequency information presented through the tactile modality, but unavailable through hearing aids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2593-2607
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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