Perceptual learning of spectrally degraded speech and environmental sounds

Jeremy L. Loebach, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Adaptation to the acoustic world following cochlear implantation does not typically include formal training or extensive audiological rehabilitation. Can cochlear implant (CI) users benefit from formal training, and if so, what type of training is best? This study used a pre-/posttest design to evaluate the efficacy of training and generalization of perceptual learning in normal hearing subjects listening to CI simulations (eight-channel sinewave vocoder). Five groups of subjects were trained on words (simple/complex), sentences (meaningful/anomalous), or environmental sounds, and then were tested using an open-set identification task. Subjects were trained on only one set of materials but were tested on all stimuli. All groups showed significant improvement due to training, which successfully generalized to some, but not all stimulus materials. For easier tasks, all types of training generalized equally well. For more difficult tasks, training specificity was observed. Training on speech did not generalize to the recognition of environmental sounds; however, explicit training on environmental sounds successfully generalized to speech. These data demonstrate that the perceptual learning of degraded speech is highly context dependent and the type of training and the specific stimulus materials that a subject experiences during perceptual learning has a substantial impact on generalization to new materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1126-1139
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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