Joanna D. Fagg
School of Commun. Sci. and Disord., McGill Univ., 1266 Pine Ave. West, Montreal, PQ H3G 1A8, Canada
The speechreading ability of a group of young children with normal hearing was assessed using a simple, closed-set, single word identification task. The speechreading test was devised such that the accurate identification of half of the test items would be expected to be facilitated by the ability to perceive voicing contrasts. All of the subjects performed the task twice, once with visual speech information only and once with visual information supplemented by a voice pitch signal, derived using an electrolaryngograph. Subjects were found to be able to identify familiar words through speechreading, both in the silent condition and with the addition voice pitch signal. No significant overall improvement was found to result from the provision of voice pitch information. However, subjects were found to significantly improve in their ability to identify those test items which required the discrimination of voicing contrasts. Conclusions were drawn about the normal speech perceptual processes of young children and about the possible benefits of providing simple speech pattern information, such as the voice pitch signal, for children with profound hearing losses.