Perception of word stress is an important aspect of recognizing speech, guiding the listener toward candidate words based on the perceived stress pattern. Cochlear implant (CI) signal processing is likely to disrupt some of the available cues for word stress, particularly vowel quality and pitch contour changes. In this study, we used a cue weighting paradigm to investigate differences in stress cue weighting patterns between participants listening with CIs and those with normal hearing (NH). We found that participants with CIs gave less weight to frequency-based pitch and vowel quality cues than NH listeners but compensated by upweighting vowel duration and intensity cues. Nonetheless, CI listeners' stress judgments were also significantly influenced by vowel quality and pitch, and they modulated their usage of these cues depending on the specific word pair in a manner similar to NH participants. In a series of separate online experiments with NH listeners, we simulated aspects of bimodal hearing by combining low-pass filtered speech with a vocoded signal. In these conditions, participants upweighted pitch and vowel quality cues relative to a fully vocoded control condition, suggesting that bimodal listening holds promise for restoring the stress cue weighting patterns exhibited by listeners with NH.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Katherine Teece, Emily Hugo, and Siuho Gong for collecting data from participants with CIs. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Grant No. R01 DC017114. J.T.F. and M.B.W. both contributed to conceptualization and design of the experiments, data analysis, and interpretation. J.T.F. also coded the experiments, collected the online experiment data, and wrote the manuscript; M.B.W. edited the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. The University of Minnesota stands on Mińı Sóta Makhócˇhe, the homelands of the Dakhóta Oyáte.
© 2022 Acoustical Society of America.
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