Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





Meital Avivi-Reich

Subject Categories

Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology


auditory training, talker familiarity


Auditory training has been shown to be an intervention strategy that may improve speech perception abilities in individuals with and without hearing loss. Within the cohort of individuals with hearing loss, auditory training has also been shown to have an improvement on speech perception in cochlear implant users. In several training studies, normal-hearing listeners have been exposed to noise-vocoded speech using auditory training paradigms to mimic how cochlear implant users may in turn be affected by these paradigms. These studies have highlighted certain areas for improvement in speech perception abilities based off of the training paradigms put in place. Several studies have looked at certain aspects of auditory training by manipulating variables such as noise-vocoded speech familiarity. However, no study thus far has investigated the interaction of both of these variables. This collaborative study outlines a novel training paradigm investigating the effect of both noise-vocoded speech familiarity and talker familiarity on normal-hearing users using processed speech stimuli.

When discussing cochlear implants, there is substantial signal processing involved and the user’s brain must adjust to listening to distorted signals in order to interpret meaning from acoustical information. However, it has been suggested that prior to applying an auditory training protocol to cochlear implant users, it must first be validated in normal-hearing listeners. By exposing normal-hearing listeners and training them on noise-vocoded speech, listeners may improve or expedite associated meaning to the distorted speech that they hear. The information obtained by introducing various training conditions to normal-hearing individuals while manipulating familiarity with noise-vocoded processing may be applied to the cochlear implant population. The other portion of this study investigates how training on one familiar talker will impact the participants’ speech perception ability when hearing both a familiar and unfamiliar talker.

The goal of the overall study is to investigate the main effects involved in interpretation of distorted speech of the hearing system in normal-hearing listeners. This will in turn allow for better prediction of normal hearing listeners to transition to distorted speech prior to using those voices in the vocoded format. The results of this study may be investigated further in the future on individuals with hearing loss and/or those with cochlear implants.