Imitative consonant feature production by children with multichannel sensory aids

Susan Todd Sehgal, Karen Iler Kirk, Mario Svirsky, David J. Ertmer, Mary Joe Osberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine changes over time in consonant feature production by children with profound hearing impairments who used either the Nucleus multichannel cochlear implant or the multichannel vibrotactile aid, Tactaid 7. Design: Imitative consonant productions of children with prelingual deafness were elicited and transcribed at two intervals: 1) before receiving their respective devices (predevice interval), and 2) after an average of 1.5 yr of device use (postdevice interval). The consonant productions were analyzed in terms of the percentage of consonant features (manner, place, and voicing) produced by the child that matched the features of the examiner's target. The percentage of features produced correctly was then averaged across repetitions, vowel environments, and participants within each group. Results: At the predevice interval, the cochlear implant and Tactaid 7 participants demonstrated similar imitative consonant production abilities. After an average of 1.5 yr of device use, the cochlear implant participants demonstrated significantly greater gains than did the Tactaid 7 participants for the features of voicing and place of articulation. Although the cochlear implant participants showed a trend towards better production of the consonant manner features, this difference failed to reach significance. Conclusions: The current results suggest that the use of a multichannel sensory aid yields improvements in consonant feature production. Furthermore, use of a cochlear implant appears to promote the production of consonant voicing and place features to a greater degree than does the use of a multichannel tactile aid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing

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