A longitudinal evaluation of the speech perception capabilities of children using multichannel tactile vocoders


Thirty children (mean age 6:11, range 4:3 to 11:0, SD = 2:3) with profound hearing impairments were followed longitudinally over a 3-year period and evaluated every 6 months with a battery of speech perception tests. The battery spanned several levels of perception, from pattern perception to open-set word recognition. The children were all enrolled in a single full-day educational program that used multichannel tactile aids in addition to hearing aids. Testing was conducted in Auditory alone (A), Tactile plus Auditory (TA), Tactile alone (T), and in one instance, Tactile plus Auditory plus Vision (TAV) conditions because the primary interest of the work was the relationship between auditory and tactile training on perception. Results indicated that children's performance improved with age, with the oldest children achieving open-set speech recognition in the TA condition. Performance in the TA condition generally exceeded that in both A and T conditions. Outcomes were compared to those from two studies in the literature for children of similar age with cochlear implants and tactile aids on the same tests. Results suggest that performance of children who had cochlear implants for an average of 21 months was similar to TA and TAV performance of children in the present study who had tactile experience over a similar period. © 1996, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Publication Title

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research