What is it about?

People must adjust to many variations in speech to understand it, including the speaking rate of a person. If they don't, for example, words meant to start with a 'g' might sound like they start with a 'k'. However, speech is degraded with a cochlear implant and can be difficult to understand. Therefore, we tested if some of the difficulty with understanding speech with a cochlear implant was due to difficulty adjusting to someone's speaking rate. We found that cochlear-implant listeners not only adjusted, they did so more than people with normal hearing.

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Why is it important?

Speech is degraded through a cochlear implant, but much of the timing information remains. To understand speech as well as possible, cochlear-implant users must maximize the information transmitted by it. The timing information conveyed by a cochlear implant may provide information that users learn to rely on more heavily. If some cochlear-implant users struggle with changes in speaking rate, it may be an area that clinicians can focus on helping people learn.


It is extremely rare that cochlear-implant users outperform people with typical hearing on hearing-related tasks. It may be in some instances that cochlear-implant listeners need to learn to better use the information that is conveyed with the device.

Dr. Matthew J Goupell
University System of Maryland

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Speech Rate Normalization and Phonemic Boundary Perception in Cochlear-Implant Users, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, May 2017, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2016_jslhr-h-15-0427.
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