Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Au.D.

Program

Audiology

Advisor

Carol A. Silverman

Subject Categories

Other Medicine and Health Sciences

Keywords

cochlear implant, Mandarin, Cantonese, speech perception, tonal languages, children

Abstract

Background: Current cochlear implants are limited in their ability to convey pitch and tone information. Poor representation of pitch and tone information in cochlear implants hinders lexical tone perception for cochlear-implant users who speak tonal languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese. As the demand for cochlear implants in China is increasing, it is necessary to understand the speech perception abilities of Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking cochlear-implant users and the factors that contribute to improved speech perception for these users.

Objective: The purpose of this investigation is to perform a systematic review on the speech perception abilities in children with cochlear implants who speak Mandarin or Cantonese, in light of poor encoding of pitch and tone information in current cochlear implants.

Methods: A comprehensive search was conducted utilizing the databases PubMed, Medline Complete, Web of Science, and China Academic Journals. The keywords used to identify relevant studies included "cochlear implant", "Chinese", "speech perception", "人工耳蝸" (cochlear implant), "兒童" (children), and "言語" (speech).

Results: 21 articles examining the speech perception abilities in Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children with cochlear implants were identified. The results revealed that speech perception abilities in Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children with cochlear implants significantly improve following cochlear implantation.

Discussion: Speech perception abilities in prelingually deafened Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children significantly improve post cochlear implantation, although performance still remains poorer when compared to that of their age-matched peers with normal-hearing sensitivity. Age at implantation and duration of cochlear-implant use are two strong predictors for speech perception abilities in Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children with cochlear implants. More research is needed to examine whether the use of novel cochlear-implant devices and speech coding strategies would improve speech perception abilities in Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children with cochlear implants.

Conclusions: Despite poor encoding of pitch and tone information in current cochlear implants, early implantation remains critical for speech development in prelingually deafened Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking children and should be encouraged.

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