Identification of acoustically similar and dissimilar vowels in profoundly deaf adults who use hearing aids and/or cochlear implants: Some preliminary findings

Marcia J. Hay-McCutcheon, Nathaniel R. Peterson, Christian A. Rosado, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this study, the authors examined the effects of aging and residual hearing on the identification of acoustically similar and dissimilar vowels in adults with postlingual deafness who use hearing aids (HAs) and/or cochlear implants (CIs). Method: The authors used two groups of acoustically similar and dissimilar vowels to assess vowel identification. Also, the Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant Word Recognition Test (Peterson & Lehiste, 1962) and sentences from the Hearing in Noise Test (Nilsson, Soli, & Sullivan, 1994) were administered. Forty CI recipients with postlingual deafness (ages 31-81 years) participated in the study. Results: Acoustically similar vowels were more difficult to identify than acoustically dissimilar vowels. With increasing age, performance deteriorated when identifying acoustically similar vowels. Vowel identification was also affected by the use of a contralateral HA and the degree of residual hearing prior to implantation. Moderate correlations were found between speech perception and vowel identification performance. Conclusions: Identification performance was affected by the acoustic similarity of the vowels. Older adults experienced more difficulty identifying acoustically similar confusable vowels than did younger adults. The findings might lend support to the ease of language understanding model (Ronnberg, Rudner, Foo, & Lunner, 2008), which proposes that the quality and perceptual robustness of acoustic input affects speech perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014



  • Aging
  • Cochlear implants
  • Hearing loss
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Medicine(all)

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