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Time course of speech changes in response to unanticipated short-term changes in hearing state

Joseph S. Perkell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Boston University
Harlan Lane, Northeastern University
Margaret Denny, Boston University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Melanie L. Matthies, Boston University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mark Tiede, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Haskins Laboratories, Connecticut
Majid Zandipour, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jennell Vick, University of Washington
Ellen Burton, Johns Hopkins University; Maryland Association of County Health Officers

Article comments

The following article appeared in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 121, Issue 4, pp. 2296-2311 (April 2007) and may be found at


The timing of changes in parameters of speech production was investigated in six cochlear implant users by switching their implant microphones off and on a number of times in a single experimental session. The subjects repeated four short, two-word utterances, /dV₁n#SV₂d/ (S=/s/ or /ʃ/), in quasi-random order. The changes between hearing and nonhearing states were introduced by a voice-activated switch at V1 onset. "Postural" measures were made of vowel sound pressure level (SPL), duration, F0; contrast measures were made of vowel separation (distance between pair members in the formant plane) and sibilant separation (difference in spectral means). Changes in parameter values were averaged over multiple utterances, lined up with respect to the switch. No matter whether prosthetic hearing was blocked or restored, contrast measures for vowels and sibilants did not change systematically. Some changes in duration, SPL and F0 were observed during the vowel within which hearing state was changed, V1, as well as during V2 and subsequent utterance repetitions. Thus, sound segment contrasts appear to be controlled differently from the postural parameters of speaking rate and average SPL and F0. These findings are interpreted in terms of the function of hypothesized feedback and feedforward mechanisms for speech motor control.

Suggested Citation

Joseph S. Perkell, Harlan Lane, Margaret Denny, Melanie L. Matthies, Mark Tiede, Majid Zandipour, Jennell Vick, and Ellen Burton. "Time course of speech changes in response to unanticipated short-term changes in hearing state" Psychology Faculty Publications (2007).
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