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Re: Postlingual cochlear implant: a training method that worked in an N=1 design

Dear Pierre,

David Pisoni related a similar story to Tessa Bent and myself (who
were postdocs in his lab at the time) after he returned from a meeting
in New York. I believe that in one case a new CI user listened to
Italian tapes (though they did not understand Italian prior to
deafness) and found that it transferred to English. As I recall their
abilities were not perfect as was the case in your example. After he
told us about a second case (I don't recall the circumstances of the
case), we decided to design an experiment to test it (using the
vocoder rather than CI users themselves). I have included the abstract
below and can send a pdf if you are interested.



Bent, T., Loebach, J.L., Phillips, L. & Pisoni D.B. (2011). Perceptual
adaptation to sinewave-vocoded speech across languages. Journal of
Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,

Listeners rapidly adapt to many forms of degraded speech. What level
of information drives this adaptation, however, remains unresolved.
The current study exposed listeners to sinewave-vocoded speech in one
of three languages, which manipulated the type of information shared
between the training languages (German, Mandarin, or English) and the
testing language (English) in an audio-visual (AV) or an audio plus
still frames modality (A + Stills). Three control groups were included
to assess procedural learning effects. After training, listeners'
perception of novel sinewave-vocoded English sentences was tested.
Listeners exposed to German-AV materials performed equivalently to
listeners exposed to English AV or A + Stills materials and
significantly better than two control groups. The Mandarin groups and
German-A + Stills group showed an intermediate level of performance.
These results suggest that full lexical access is not absolutely
necessary for adaptation to degraded speech, but providing AV-training
in a language that is similar phonetically to the testing language can
facilitate adaptation.


Jeremy L. Loebach, PhD
Department of Psychology
St. Olaf College

On Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM, Pierre Divenyi <pdivenyi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hello CI folks,
> At an informal gathering I met a gentleman who told me about his 38-year old
> son-in-law losing his hearing after a car going > 60 mph hit him on his
> bicycle. It was a miracle that he survived but he suffered major concussion,
> memory loss, and shortly after the event also his hearing, bilaterally. He
> slowly recovered his cognitive functions but not his hearing. After 4 years
> of trying to get by with lip reading alone, he got a cochlear implant. As it
> is the case for many adult CI patients whose loss was not congenital, he did
> hear sounds but had difficulty understanding speech. So, he trained himself
> by watching foreign films on DVD that had an original non-English track with
> subtitles and also a dubbed English track: he set the video on the subtitled
> track and the audio on the English track. Within a few months of using this
> training method, his speech understanding improved to a point that was
> considered essentially perfect by himself and his entourage.
> Although the story is obviously not scientific, I thought it would be found
> interesting by some of you reading the list.
> -Pierre