Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 120, Issue 7–8, pp 228–233 | Cite as

The influence of cochlear implantation on vowel articulation

  • Irena Hocevar-Boltezar
  • Miha Boltezar
  • Miha Zargi
Original Article


PURPOSE: Speech of deaf persons differs considerably from that of speakers with normal hearing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the acoustic changes in articulation of corner vowels in deaf children and adults after cochlear implantation. METHODS: Thirteen prelingually deaf children and 12 postlingually deaf adults were included in the study. Voice samples of the isolated corner vowels /a/, /i/ and /u/ were analyzed before and 6–12 months after the implantation. The frequencies of the first (F1) and second (F2) formants, the F1/F2 ratio of all three corner vowels, and the area of the vowel triangle were calculated and compared before and 6–12 months after the implantation. RESULT: In the adults, no significant differences were detected in the formant frequencies, the F1/F2 ratio or the area of the vowel triangle. However, significant change in formant frequencies was detected in the group of 13 prelingually deaf children. After the implantation the F1 of /u/ decreased significantly, and favorable decreases of the F1 of /i/ and the F1/F2 ratio in /i/ and /u/ were close to being statistically significant. All changes caused better phonological difference between the two vowels. The significant change in the F1 of /u/ and the change of F1 of /i/ resulted in the expansion of the vowel space, which was expressed as an increase in the area of the vowel triangle. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that in children the acquired hearing ability and further development of neuromuscular control of articulation are the reasons for the significant improvement after cochlear implantation. The results also suggest that the area of the vowel triangle is a useful and sensitive indicator of the more precise articulation after implantation. In order to achieve better and faster improvement of articulation, regular speech therapy should be included in the rehabilitation of deaf persons after cochlear implantation.


Cochlear implantation Articulation Acoustic analysis Children Adults 

Der Einfluss von Cochlearimplantaten auf die Artikulation von Vokalen


ZIEL DER STUDIE: Die Sprache tauber Personen unterscheidet sich deutlich von der Sprache von Menschen mit normalem Gehör. Das Ziel der vorliegenden Studie war es, die akustischen Änderungen in der Artikulation der Eckvokale des Vokaldreiecks bei tauben Kindern und Erwachsenen nach Implantation eines Cochlear-Implantats zu untersuchen. METHODEN: 13 prälingual ertaubte Kinder und 12 postlingual ertaubte Erwachsene wurden in die Studie eingeschlossen. Stimmproben der Eckvokale des Vokaldreiecks (/a/, /i/, und /u) wurden vor und 6 bis 12 Monate nach der Implantation analysiert. Die Frequenz des 1. (F1) und 2. (F2) Formanten sowie der F1/F2 Quotient aller drei Eckvokale und die Fläche des Vokaldreiecks wurden zu allen Messzeitpunkten berechnet und miteinander verglichen. ERGEBNISSE: Bei den Erwachsenen konnten keine signifikanten Unterschiede zwischen der Frequenz der Formanten, dem Quotienten F1/F2 und den Vokal-Dreieckflächen erhoben werden. Bei den Kindern wurde eine signifikante Änderung der Frequenz der Formanten beobachtet. Nach der Implantation sank F1 von /u/ signifikant. Der günstige Abfall von F1 von /i/ und der F1/F2 Quotienten von /i/ und /u/ war nahe der statistischen Signifikanz. Alle Veränderungen bewirkten eine bessere phonologische Differenzierung der beiden Vokale. Die signifikante Änderung von F1 von /u/ und die Änderung von F1 von /i/ führten zu einer Ausweitung des Vokalraums, die sich in einer Zunahme der Fläche des Vokaldreiecks ausdrückte. SCHLUSSFOLGERUNGEN: Es wird angenommen, dass das erworbene Hörvermögen und die Weiterentwicklung der neuromuskulären Kontrolle der Artikulation bei Kindern der Grund für die signifikante Besserung ist. Die Ergebnisse der Studie lassen auch vermuten, dass die Fläche des Vokaldreiecks ein nützlicher und sensitiver Indikator der präziseren Artikulation nach Implantation eines Cochlear-Implantats ist. Für eine maximale und schnellere Besserung der Artikulation sollte eine regelmäßige Sprachtherapie in der Rehabilitation tauber Personen nach Implantation inkludiert sein.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irena Hocevar-Boltezar
    • 1
  • Miha Boltezar
    • 2
  • Miha Zargi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Medical CenterLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Faculty for Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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