Objective: To determine the effect of reduced dynamic range on speech understanding when the speech signals are processed in a manner similar to a 6-channel cochlear implant speech processor. Design: Signals were processed in a manner similar to a 6-channel cochlear implant processor and output as a sum of sine waves with frequencies equal to the center frequencies of the analysis filters. The amplitudes of the sine waves were compressed in a systematic fashion to simulate the effect of reduced dynamic range. The compressed signals were presented to 10 normal-hearing listeners for identification. Results: There was a significant effect of compression for all test materials. The effect of the compression on speech understanding was different for the three test materials (vowels, consonants, and sentences). Vowel recognition was affected the most by the compression, and consonant recognition was affected the least by the compression. Feature analysis indicated that the reception of place information was affected the most. Sentence recognition was moderately affected by the compression. Conclusions: Dynamic range should affect the speech perception abilities of cochlear implant users. Our results suggest that a relatively wide dynamic range is needed for a high level of vowel recognition and a relatively small dynamic range is sufficient to maintain consonant recognition. We infer from this outcome that, if other factors were held equal, an implant patient with a small dynamic range could achieve moderately high scores on tests of consonant recognition but poor performance on vowel recognition, and that it is more likely for an implant patient with a large dynamic range to obtain high scores on vowel recognition than for an implant patient with a small dynamic range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing