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Date of Graduation
Doctor of Audiology (AuD)
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Timbre and pitch cues, though definitionally and physically distinct characteristics of sound, are attributes of all sound signals. A body of literature has shown that alteration of one characteristic can influence the perception of the other; e.g., speech spoken with an atypical contour of pitch can influence a listener's accuracy in identifying the words spoken; conversely, whether a melodic contour is presented via a MIDI piano representation or as sung speech can influence the accuracy of identification of the pitches' contour. Trends for these interactions have been documented for normal hearing children and adults, as well as postlingually deafened adult cochlear implant users. Findings have differed in some capacities between the two listening statuses, attributed in part to impoverished frequency resolution of signals delivered by CIs. Prelingually-deafened young cochlear implant users were examined in this study to observe whether trends persisted for this population, who have briefly, or never, experienced sound perception via acoustic auditory pathways. Additionally, demographic factors and cognitive measures (auditory working memory, nonverbal IQ, and receptive vocabulary) were examined for correlation to word identification and melodic contour identification (MCI) measures within this study.
Outcomes for this population largely aligned with existing literature. Speech presented with atypical pitch contours reduced word identification accuracy; however, unlike the relation between adult NH and CI populations, where CI users show greater vulnerability to reduction in word identification when presented atypically contoured speech, the subjects of this study showed a comparable level of decrement relative to their NH peers. When the frequency-spacing between notes in a melodic contour was discriminable, these participants matched trends to NH peers for influence by timbre alteration. Lastly, auditory working memory showed robust correlation within outcomes for both MCI and word identification measures.
Wheeler, Harley J., "Music and speech perception in pre-lingually deafened young listeners with cochlear implants: A preliminary study using sung speech" (2020). Dissertations, 2020-current. 25.
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