The ability to recognize speech that is degraded spectrally is a critical skill for successfully using a cochlear implant (CI). Previous research has shown that toddlers with normal hearing can successfully recognize noise-vocoded words as long as the signal contains at least eight spectral channels [Newman and Chatterjee. (2013). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 133(1), 483-494; Newman, Chatterjee, Morini, and Remez. (2015). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 138(3), EL311-EL317], although they have difficulty with signals that only contain four channels of information. Young children with CIs not only need to match a degraded speech signal to a stored representation (word recognition), but they also need to create new representations (word learning), a task that is likely to be more cognitively demanding. Normal-hearing toddlers aged 34 months were tested on their ability to initially learn (fast-map) new words in noise-vocoded stimuli. While children were successful at fast-mapping new words from 16-channel noise-vocoded stimuli, they failed to do so from 8-channel noise-vocoded speech. The level of degradation imposed by 8-channel vocoding appears sufficient to disrupt fast-mapping in young children. Recent results indicate that only CI patients with high spectral resolution can benefit from more than eight active electrodes. This suggests that for many children with CIs, reduced spectral resolution may limit their acquisition of novel words.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics