Lexical effects on spoken word recognition by pediatric cochlear implant users

Karen Iler Kirk, David B. Pisoni, Mary Joe Osberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

229 Scopus citations


Objective: The purposes of this study were 1) to examine the effect of lexical characteristics on the spoken word recognition performance of children who use a multichannel cochlear implant (CI), and 2) to compare their performance on lexically controlled word lists with their performance on a traditional test of word recognition, the PB-K. Design: In two different experiments, 14 to 19 pediatric CI users who demonstrated at least some openset speech recognition served as subjects. Based on computational analyses, word lists were constructed to allow systematic examination of the effects of word frequency, lexical density (i.e., the number of phonemically similar words, or neighbors), and word length. The subjects’ performance on these new tests and the PB-K also was compared. Results: The percentage of words correctly identified was significantly higher for lexically “easy”words (high frequency words with few neighbors)than for “hard” words (low frequency words with many neighbors), but there was no lexical effect on phoneme recognition scores. Word recognition performance was consistently higher on the lexically controlled lists than on the PB-K. In addition, word recognition was better for multisyllabic than for monosyllabic stimuli. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that pediatric cochlear implant users are sensitive to the acoustic-phonetic similarities among words, that they organize words into similarity neighborhoods in long-term memory, and that they use this structural information in recognizing isolated words. The results further suggest that the PB-K under estimates these subjects’ spoken word recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-481
Number of pages12
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing

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