Changes in voice-onset time in speakers with cochlear implants


Voice-onset time (VOT) and syllable duration were measured for the English plosives in /Cɑd/ (C=consonant) context spoken by four postlingually deafened recipients of multichannel (Ineraid) cochlear implants. Recordings were made of their speech before, and at intervals following, activation of the speech processors of their implants. Three patients reduced mean syllable duration following activation. Using measures of VOT and syllable duration from speakers with normal hearing [Volaitis and Miller, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 92, 723–735 (1992)] and from the subjects of this study, VOT is shown to vary approximately linearly with syllable duration over the ranges produced here. Therefore, the VOT of each token was adjusted for the change in syllable duration of that token relative to the mean syllable duration in the first baseline session. This variable, labeled VOTc, was used to evaluate the effects on voicing of the speakers' renewed access to the voicing contrast provided by their implants. Preimplant, all four speakers characteristically uttered voiced plosives with too-short VOT, compared to the measures for hearing speakers. Voiceless plosive mean VOT was also abnormally short for two of the speakers, and close to normal for the remaining two. With some hearing restored, subjects made relatively few errors with respect to voicing when identifying plosives in listening tests, and three of the four speakers lengthened VOTc. The findings are interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that speakers use their hearing to calibrate mechanisms of speech production by monitoring the relations between their articulations and their acoustic output.


The following article appeared in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 96, Issue 1, pp. 56-64 (July 1994) and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.410442


speech production, voice-onset time, syllable duration, hearing aids

Subject Categories

Cochlear implants, Speech, Hearing, Voice


Psychology | Speech and Hearing Science


Acoustical Society of America

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©1994 Acoustical Society of America

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