An analytical method to determine phoneme recognition abilities of South African cochlear implant users
AbstractThis article describes analytical tests developed to investigate the extent to which Afrikaans- and Englishspeaking South African cochlear implant users recognize phonemes. Vowel stimuli (in a /pVOWELt/ context) and consonant stimuli (in an /aCONSONANTa/ context), uttered by male and female speakers, were recorded and acoustically analysed. Vowel and consonant recognition abilities of respectively nine and eleven local cochlear implant users were subsequently investigated. Typical confusions experienced by cochlear implant users were determined and explained in terms of the acoustic properties of the stimuli. General observations are that implant users find vowels that are identified by spectral characteristics difficult to recognise, while the recognition of temporal properties is better. During consonant recognition, place of articulation is particularly difficult to identify. Results support observations from similar studies conducted for other language groups. These analytical tests may be valuable for creating individualised speech processor settings and monitoring new implant users’ progress in speech recognition ability.