Buz E, Dwyer NC, Lai W, Watson DG, Gifford RH. Integration of fundamental frequency and voice-onset-time to voicing categorization: Listeners with normal hearing and bimodal hearing configurations. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2023 Mar;153(153). 1580 p. PMID: 37002096 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC9995168
This study investigates the integration of word-initial fundamental frequency (F0) and voice-onset-time (VOT) in stop voicing categorization for adult listeners with normal hearing (NH) and unilateral cochlear implant (CI) recipients utilizing a bimodal hearing configuration [CI + contralateral hearing aid (HA)]. Categorization was assessed for ten adults with NH and ten adult bimodal listeners, using synthesized consonant stimuli interpolating between /ba/ and /pa/ exemplars with five-step VOT and F0 conditions. All participants demonstrated the expected categorization pattern by reporting /ba/ for shorter VOTs and /pa/ for longer VOTs, with NH listeners showing more use of VOT as a voicing cue than CI listeners in general. When VOT becomes ambiguous between voiced and voiceless stops, NH users make more use of F0 as a cue to voicing than CI listeners, and CI listeners showed greater utilization of initial F0 during voicing identification in their bimodal (CI + HA) condition than in the CI-alone condition. The results demonstrate the adjunctive benefit of acoustic hearing from the non-implanted ear for listening conditions involving spectrotemporally complex stimuli. This finding may lead to the development of a clinically feasible perceptual weighting task that could inform clinicians about bimodal efficacy and the risk-benefit profile associated with bilateral CI recommendation.