Modeling open-set spoken word recognition in postlingually deafened adults after cochlear implantation: Some preliminary results with the neighborhood activation model

Ted A. Meyer, Stefan A. Frisch, David B. Pisoni, Richard T. Miyamoto, Mario A. Svirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Hypotheses: Do cochlear implants provide enough information to allow adult cochlear implant users to understand words in ways that are similar to listeners with acoustic hearing? Can we use a computational model to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms used by cochlear implant users to recognize spoken words? Background: The Neighborhood Activation Model has been shown to be a reasonable model of word recognition for listeners with normal hearing. The Neighborhood Activation Model assumes that words are recognized in relation to other similar-sounding words in a listener's lexicon. The probability of correctly identifying a word is based on the phoneme perception probabilities from a listener's closed-set consonant and vowel confusion matrices modified by the relative frequency of occurrence of the target word compared with similar-sounding words (neighbors). Common words with few similar-sounding neighbors are more likely to be selected as responses than less common words with many similar-sounding neighbors. Recent studies have shown that several of the assumptions of the Neighborhood Activation Model also hold true for cochlear implant users. Methods: Closed-set consonant and vowel confusion matrices were obtained from 26 postlingually deafened adults who use cochlear implants. Confusion matrices were used to represent input errors to the Neighborhood Activation Model. Responses to the different stimuli were then generated by the Neighborhood Activation Model after incorporating the frequency of occurrence counts of the stimuli and their neighbors. Model outputs were compared with obtained performance measures on the Consonant-Vowel Nucleus-Consonant word test. Information transmission analysis was used to assess whether the Neighborhood Activation Model was able to successfully generate and predict word and individual phoneme recognition by cochlear implant users. Results: The Neighborhood Activation Model predicted Consonant-Vowel Nucleus-Consonant test words at levels similar to those correctly identified by the cochlear implant users. The Neighborhood Activation Model also predicted phoneme feature information well. Conclusion: The results obtained suggest that the Neighborhood Activation Model provides a reasonable explanation of word recognition by postlingually deafened adults after cochlear implantation. It appears that multichannel cochlear implants give cochlear implant users access to their mental lexicons in a manner that is similar to listeners with acoustic hearing. The lexical properties of the test stimuli used to assess performance are important to spoken-word recognition and should be included in further models of the word recognition process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-620
Number of pages9
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implantation
  • Open set
  • Word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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