As part of a larger subject group, four profoundly hearing-impaired children enrolled in a total communication educational program were fitted with the University of Melbourne's multichannel electrotactile speech processor (Tickle Talker). Sound detection thresholds for pure tones were at lower levels with the tactile device than with hearing aids, especially for high frequency sounds above 2 kHz. Two of the children also detected all speech sounds of the Ling five-sound test at normal conversational levels using only the Tickle Talker. The children were able to use tactile input to achieve higher scores on three speech feature subtests of the PLOTT test when using the Tickle Talker plus hearing aids as compared to hearing aids alone. Mean improvements were 22.4 percent on vowel length, 28 percent on vowel identification, and 35 percent on consonant manner. Improvements were also shown by individual children on the closed-set WIPI and open-set PBK word tests, and on the open-set BKB sentence test, when the Tickle Talker was combined with hearing aids, and with hearing aids and lipreading. Comparisons of these results with those of children using the Tickle Talker in other educational settings show that children in a total communication environment can potentially benefit to a similar degree from use of tactual input. Anecdotal reports from the children and school staff members indicated that daily use of the Tickle Talker did not interfere with the signing aspects of total communication.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Audiology|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1991|