Vocal biomarkers of mild-to-moderate hearing loss in children and adults: Voiceless sibilants

Andrea Pittman, Ayoub Daliri, Lauren Meadows

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if an Spectral COG for /ʃ/ was unaffected by hearing loss in objective measure of speech production could serve as a both listening conditions, whereas the spectral COG for vocal biomarker for the effects of high-frequency hearing /s/ significantly decreased as high-frequency hearing loss loss on speech perception. It was hypothesized that increased. The distance in spectral COG between /s/ and /ʃ/ production of voiceless sibilants is governed sufficiently decreased significantly with increasing hearing level. COG by auditory feedback that high-frequency hearing loss distance significantly predicted nonsense-word detection results in subtle but significant shifts in the spectral in children but not in adults. characteristics of these sibilants. Conclusions: At least one aspect of speech production Method: Sibilant production was examined in individuals (voiceless sibilants) is measurably affected by high-frequency with mild to moderately severe congenital (22 children; hearing loss and is related to speech perception 8–17 years old) and acquired (23 adults; 55–80 years old) in children. Speech production did not predict speech hearing losses. Measures of hearing level (pure-tone perception in adults, suggesting a more complex average thresholds at 4 and 8 kHz), speech perception relationship between auditory feedback and feedforward (detection of nonsense words within sentences), and mechanisms with age. Even so, these results suggest speech production (spectral center of gravity [COG] for /s/ that this vocal biomarker may be useful for identifying the and /ʃ/) were obtained in unaided and aided conditions. presence of high-frequency hearing loss in adults and Results: For both children and adults, detection of nonsense children and for predicting the impact of hearing loss in words increased significantly as hearing thresholds improved. children.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2814-2826
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing


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