Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 4 April 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.



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Perception of Phoneme Contrast in Noise in Children with Normal Hearing and Cochlear Implant -
A Comparative Study

Winnie Alex, M. Sc. (Audiology Speech Language Pathology) Student
S. B. Rathna Kumar, M. Sc. (Speech & Hearing), PhD (Applied Linguistics) Scholar
G. Yamini Sindhura, B. Sc. (Audiology Speech Language Pathology) Student
S. G. R. Prakash, M.Sc. (Speech & Hearing) Ph.D. (Applied Linguistics)


Speech perception is the process of transforming a continuously changing acoustic signal into discrete linguistic units (Rvachew & Grawburg 2006). The development of language-specific speech perception begins in infancy and continues into late childhood (Hazan & Barrett 2000). Phoneme perception is a form of auditory perception in which the listener and speaker distinguish among the sound contrasts in a language. Nicolosi, Harryman & Kreschech (1978) defined discrimination as the process of distinguishing among the speech sounds or words by differentiating them as same or different.

The relative effects of cochlear damage on the perception of various speech features are well established. It has been shown that subjects with sensorineural hearing loss perceive suprasegmental features better than segmental features, vowels better than consonants, vowel height better than vowel place (front, back), word initial consonants better than word-final consonants and consonant voicing and continuance better than consonant place (Risberg 1976; Hack & Erber 1982). Raja, Kumar, Prakash & Reddy (2010) studied the perception of vowel contrasts and consonant contrasts in normal hearing, children with hearing impairment using cochlear implants and hearing aids. They found that children using cochlear implant perform better than children using hearing aids and the mean scores of children with cochlear implants were almost equal to normal hearing group.

Review of literature shows that children with cochlear implants performed better than children with hearing aids. Although children with cochlear implants performed better, it is expected that perception of phoneme contrast ability would be lessened in the presence of background noise. There is a dearth in research studying the phoneme contrast perception in cochlear implanted children compared with normal children in the presence of background noise especially with reference to Telugu language. Research findings related to specific Indian language are needed to build up the much needed data base for pedagogical and clinical purposes.

Aim of the Study

The current study aims at investigating and comparing the phoneme contrast ability between children with hearing impairment using cochlear implants and children with normal hearing in the presence of background noise in Telugu language.



A total of 30 children with an age range of 8-12 years (mean age of 10.6 years) participated in the study. The subjects were divided into two groups; each group consisted of 15 children. Group I: Consisted of children with normal hearing (NH), while Group II included children with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss using cochlear implants. All the children in group II had a minimum experience of 3 years with cochlear implant. Three of the children were with bimodal stimulation (i.e. using hearing aid in the non-implanted ear along with cochlear implant in the other ear).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Winnie Alex, M. Sc (Audiology Speech Language Pathology) Student

S. B. Rathna Kumar, M. Sc (Speech & Hearing), PhD (Applied Linguistics) Scholar

G. Yamini Sindhura, B. Sc (Audiology Speech Language Pathology) student

S. G. R. Prakash, M. Sc (Speech & Hearing) Ph.D. (Applied Linguistics)

Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped
Southern Regional Centre
Secunderabad 500 009 Andhra Pradesh, INDIA

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