Cochlear-Implanted Children's Perception of Mandarin Tones in Normal Speech and Whispered Speech
* Presenting author
Since cochlear implants lack an efficient coding of fine structures of speech including F0, it is generally difficult for cochlear-implanted (CI) children to perceive linguistic tones, of which F0 is the primary acoustic cue. In whispered speech, however, F0 is missing and no longer serves as an acoustic cue of tones. Using a picture selection task, we compared the identification of Mandarin four tones in isolated syllables between two groups of 4-to-5-year-old children, i.e., CI and normal-hearing (NH) groups, in both normal speech and whispered speech. For normal speech, NH showed significantly higher identification than CI, regardless of tone which showed no significant effect. For whispered speech, both groups identified T3 better than other three tones, possibly due to their use of other cues for T3; Also, no significant difference was found between the two groups on all tones but T3, on which NH showed significantly higher identification than CI, suggesting that NH retrieved the voice quality cue for T3 better than CI. In both groups, identification rate was significantly lower for whispered speech than for normal speech, but the decrease in the rate was greater in NH than in CI, confirming that NH’s tone perception relied more on F0.