The use of acoustic cues for phonetic identification: Effects of spectral degradation and electric hearing

Matthew B. Winn, Monita Chatterjee, William J. Idsardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Although some cochlear implant (CI) listeners can show good word recognition accuracy, it is not clear how they perceive and use the various acoustic cues that contribute to phonetic perceptions. In this study, the use of acoustic cues was assessed for normal-hearing (NH) listeners in optimal and spectrally degraded conditions, and also for CI listeners. Two experiments tested the tense/lax vowel contrast (varying in formant structure, vowel-inherent spectral change, and vowel duration) and the word-final fricative voicing contrast (varying in F1 transition, vowel duration, consonant duration, and consonant voicing). Identification results were modeled using mixed-effects logistic regression. These experiments suggested that under spectrally-degraded conditions, NH listeners decrease their use of formant cues and increase their use of durational cues. Compared to NH listeners, CI listeners showed decreased use of spectral cues like formant structure and formant change and consonant voicing, and showed greater use of durational cues (especially for the fricative contrast). The results suggest that although NH and CI listeners may show similar accuracy on basic tests of word, phoneme or feature recognition, they may be using different perceptual strategies in the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1465-1479
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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