Acoustic vowel space differences between cochlear implant and hearing aid users
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This study examines the acoustic vowel space of three children aged 4 to 5 years with varying levels of hearing. One of the children had cochlear implants with a profound unaided hearing loss. One child wore hearing aids with a mild unaided hearing loss. One child had normal hearing. Participants' production of isolated vowels, words, and a sentence were acoustically analyzed using the Speech Filing System program to determine the acoustic distinction between each child's vowels. It was hypothesized that the child with normal hearing would have the largest acoustic vowel space due to her ability to utilize auditory feedback and sufficiently differentiate each vowel category. Unexpectedly the child with the hearing aid exhibited the greatest vowel space across all speech tasks indicating neither normal hearing nor the cochlear implant offered an advantage over hearing aids. The small sample and lack of control of aided hearing levels may have created these unexpected results.