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Concurrent Vowel Identification and Speech Perception in Noise in Individuals With Cochlear Hearing Loss

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Previous studies have indicated that individuals with cochlear hearing loss perform poorly in concurrent vowel identification task. This indicates that individuals with cochlear hearing loss do not use F0 cues to segregate two acoustic streams, as much as normal hearing individuals do. However, which of vowel features (place, tongue height etc.,) are better transmitted when the F0s of two concurrently presented vowels are varied is not known. Moreover, the contribution of stream segregation abilities in understanding of speech in the presence of competing signal is also not clear. Hence, this study aimed to evaluate the relationship between concurrent vowel identification scores and speech perception abilities in noise in individuals with cochlear hearing loss and compared that to normal hearing individuals. Specifically, we measured the identification of vowels /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/ when vowel /a/ was presented simultaneously as a competing stimulus in 14 individuals with normal hearing and 15 individuals with cochlear hearing loss. Vowel identification scores were measured in four conditions: with 0 semitone difference between fundamental frequencies of concurrent vowels, with 1 semitone, 2 semitone and 4 semitone difference in the fundamental frequencies of concurrent vowels. Signal to noise ratio required to identify 50% of presented speech (SNR-50) in presence of four talker babble was also measured using standardized sentence list. Furthermore, relationship between concurrent vowel identification and SNR-50 was also evaluated. The results of the present study showed that individuals with cochlear hearing loss had poorer concurrent vowel identification scores compared to the normal hearing group, especially in 0 semitone difference condition. There were significant correlations between concurrent vowel identification scores and SNR-50 indicating, differences in the F0 are one of the most robust cues for stream segregation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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