Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The effect of speech processing on implanted electronic hearing devices

Surgically implanted cochlear implants (CIs) enable individuals to restore parts or all of their hearing, but they are not without drawbacks. An EU initiative set out to better understand how CIs affect the automatic mechanisms underlying speech processing.
The effect of speech processing on implanted electronic hearing devices
The inherent benefits of these sought after electronic hearing devices for the profoundly deaf and those with significant hearing loss are many. However, recipients face some challenges learning to associate the sounds they hear through their CI with those they had heard before. This difficulty in interpreting unfamiliar sounds they hear through a CI can impede understanding of speech and sounds.

To address the issue, the EU-funded MARCI (Mental representations of and adaptation to the speech signal transmitted via cochlear implants: How the impoverished signal finds its way to the mental lexicon) project aimed to examine the functioning of certain mechanisms that cause speech perception in CI users. Speech perception models previously developed for normal hearing listeners were used as a basis.

Project partners studied how speech processing with CI corresponds to the architecture of speech perception and lexical access models. These models were then linked to cortical processing measures to gain insight into how new CI users adapt their speech processing to the implanted device. They investigated the development of speech processing in long-term CI users and monitored the progress of listeners attempting to adapt to their prostheses following new implants.

Findings show signals that simulate speech transmitted by a CI negatively impact the listening to speech and hamper access to acoustic information present in the signal. Signals also delay lexical access and the integration of semantic information within a sentence. In addition, outcomes show that automatic stages of speech processing in CI users take longer compared to normal hearing listeners.

MARCI advanced knowledge and filled the research gap in CI speech processing. This will have implications for hearing rehabilitation as well as device development.

Related information


Speech processing, hearing devices, cochlear implants, MARCI, speech signal
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top