Influence of voice similarity on talker discrimination in children with normal hearing and children with cochlear implants

Miranda Cleary, David B. Pisoni, Karen Iler Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The perception of voice similarity was examined in 5-year-old children with normal hearing sensitivity and in pediatric cochlear implant users, 5-12 years of age. Recorded sentences were manipulated to form a continuum of similar-sounding voices. An adaptive procedure was then used to determine how acoustically different, in terms of average fundamental and formant frequencies, 2 sentences needed to be for a child to categorize the sentences as spoken by 2 different talkers. The average spectral characteristics of 2 utterances (including their fundamental frequencies) needed to differ by at least 11%-16% (2-2.5 semitones) for normal-hearing children to perceive the voices as belonging to different talkers. Introducing differences in the linguistic content of the 2 sentences to be compared did not change performance. Although several children with cochlear implants performed similarly to normal-hearing children, most found the task very difficult. Pediatric cochlear implant users who scored above the group mean of 64% of words correct on a monosyllabic open-set word identification task categorized the voices more like children with normal hearing sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-223
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005



  • Children
  • Cochlear implant
  • Normal hearing
  • Talker perception
  • Voice similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Linguistics and Language

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