Processing of fundamental frequency changes, emotional prosody and lexical tones by pediatric CI recipients
As cochlear implants (CIs) do not provide adequate representation of the harmonic structure of complex sounds, the perception of the voice fundamental frequency (F0) is severely limited in CI users. As F0 plays an important role in speech prosody and in lexical tones, this deficit has a negative impact on communication. Here we focus on the pediatric CI population, most of whom were prelingually deaf and were implanted before three years of age, within the most adaptive period of the brain’s development. Our results suggest that, relative to their normally-hearing peers, school-age children with CIs have significant deficits in their sensitivity to both static and dynamic F0-changes. In addition, children with CIs also have deficits in their identification of emotional prosody and in lexical-tone recognition.
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