Mandarin tone recognition training with cochlear implant simulation: Amplitude envelope enhancement and cue weighting


With limited fundamental frequency (F0) cues, cochlear implant (CI) users recognize Mandarin tones using amplitude envelope. This study investigated whether tone recognition training with amplitude envelope enhancement may improve tone recognition and cue weighting with CIs. Three groups of CI-simulation listeners received training using vowels with amplitude envelope modified to resemble F0 contour (enhanced-amplitude-envelope training), training using natural vowels (natural-amplitude-envelope training), and exposure to natural vowels without training, respectively. Tone recognition with natural and enhanced amplitude envelope cues and cue weighting of amplitude envelope and F0 contour were measured in pre-, post-, and retention-tests. It was found that with similar pre-test performance, both training groups had better tone recognition than the no-training group after training. Only enhanced-amplitude-envelope training increased the benefits of amplitude envelope enhancement in the post- and retention-tests than in the pre-test. Neither training paradigm increased the cue weighting of amplitude envelope and F0 contour more than stimulus exposure. Listeners attending more to amplitude envelope in the pre-test tended to have better tone recognition with enhanced amplitude envelope cues before training and improve more in tone recognition after enhanced-amplitude-envelope training. The results suggest that auditory training and speech enhancement may bring maximum benefits to CI users when combined.

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 150(2), 1218-1230