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Open AccessArticle

Bimodal Benefits for Lexical Tone Recognition: An Investigation on Mandarin-speaking Preschoolers with a Cochlear Implant and a Contralateral Hearing Aid

1
Speech-Language-Hearing Center, School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
2
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(4), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040238
Received: 22 March 2020 / Revised: 8 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 17 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central Auditory Plasticity)
Pitch perception is known to be difficult for individuals with cochlear implant (CI), and adding a hearing aid (HA) in the non-implanted ear is potentially beneficial. The current study aimed to investigate the bimodal benefit for lexical tone recognition in Mandarin-speaking preschoolers using a CI and an HA in opposite ears. The child participants were required to complete tone identification in quiet and in noise with CI + HA in comparison with CI alone. While the bimodal listeners showed confusion between Tone 2 and Tone 3 in recognition, the additional acoustic information from the contralateral HA alleviated confusion between these two tones in quiet. Moreover, significant improvement was demonstrated in the CI + HA condition over the CI alone condition in noise. The bimodal benefit for individual subjects could be predicted by the low-frequency hearing threshold of the non-implanted ear and the duration of bimodal use. The findings support the clinical practice to fit a contralateral HA in the non-implanted ear for the potential benefit in Mandarin tone recognition in CI children. The limitations call for further studies on auditory plasticity on an individual basis to gain insights on the contributing factors to the bimodal benefit or its absence. View Full-Text
Keywords: lexical tones; bimodal benefit; speech learning; cochlear implant (CI); hearing aid (HA) lexical tones; bimodal benefit; speech learning; cochlear implant (CI); hearing aid (HA)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, H.; Zhang, J.; Ding, H.; Zhang, Y. Bimodal Benefits for Lexical Tone Recognition: An Investigation on Mandarin-speaking Preschoolers with a Cochlear Implant and a Contralateral Hearing Aid. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 238.

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