Graeme Clark Collection

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    Speech perception in children using cochlear implants: prediction of long-term outcomes.
    Dowell, RC ; Dettman, SJ ; Blamey, PJ ; Barker, EJ ; Clark, GM (Maney Publishing, 2002-03)
    A group of 102 children using the Nucleus multichannel cochlear implant were assessed for open-set speech perception abilities at six-monthly intervals following implant surgery. The group included a wide range of ages, types of hearing loss, ages at onset of hearing loss, experience with implant use and communication modes. Multivariate analysis indicated that a shorter duration of profound hearing loss, later onset of profound hearing loss, exclusively oral/aural communication and greater experience with the implant were associated with better open-set speech perception. Developmental delay was associated with poorer speech perception and the SPEAK signal coding scheme was shown to provide better speech perception performance than previous signal processors. Results indicated that postoperative speech perception outcomes could be predicted with an accuracy that is clinically useful.
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    Issues in the development of multichannel tactile devices for hearing-impaired children and adults
    Cowan, Robert S. C. ; Galvin, Karyn L. ; Sarant, Julia Z. ; Blamey, Peter J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1995)
    Levitt, Pickett and Houde (1980), in their landmark monograph, noted that the history of tactile aid development has been characterized by periodic bursts of enthusiasm and research, often culminating in identification of new avenues to be explored for improving tactile perception of speech. While several research groups have maintained long-term interest in tactile research (Boothroyd, 1985; Oller, Payne, & Gavin, 1980; Saunders, 1985), there was a marked increase in reports of new multichannel tactile devices during the 1980s (reviewed in McGarr, 1989). This upsurge may have been spurred in part by the rapid increase world-wide in the number of hearing-impaired children and adults using cochlear implants as everyday communication devices, and the perceived need for a non-surgical approach to assisting hearing-impaired children. Despite this increase in tactile research, no tactile device has yet achieved widespread commercial use by the hearing-impaired community. It is, therefore, of interest to question why cochlear implants have been more widely accepted than tactile devices.
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    Design fundamentals for electrotactile devices: the Tickle Talker case study
    Cowan, Robert S. C. ; Galvin, Karyn L. ; Blamey, Peter J. ; Sarant, Julia Z. (Whurr, 1995)
    Since the work of Gault in the 1920s, the literature has chronicled the development of numerous tactile devices for use by the hearing impaired in improving communication. Devices have been developed to target improvements in both speech perception and speech production. In each development, the inventors have attempted to encode speech information through stimulation of the intact kinaesthetic system of the individual, as a supplement or replacement for speech input available from the damaged auditory pathway.
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    Articulation accuracy of children using an electrotactile speech processor
    Galvin, Karyn L. ; Cowan, Robert S. C. ; Sarant, Julia Z. ; Tobey, Emily A. ; Blamey, Peter J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1995)
    Objective: Use of wearable tactile speech perception devices is suggested to help overcome the difficulties in speech production resulting from severe and profound hearing impairment in children. This suggestion is based on the assumption that subjects can use tactile input in isolation, or in combination with information from residual aided hearing, to monitor and modify their speech. The present study evaluated the benefits to articulation provided through use of a multichannel electrotactile device (“Tickle Talker™”). Design: Six profoundly hearing-impaired children were videotaped speaking with the Tickle Talker on and with the Tickle Talker off during conversations with their audiologist. Five of the subjects also wore their binaural hearing aids during all recorded conversations. The number of vowels, consonants, and overall phonemes correctly articulated by each child in the two conditions were compared. Results: One subject improved articulation of initial consonants and initial phonemes; one subject improved articulation of total vowels, total consonants, initial consonants, total phonemes, and initial phonemes; and a third subject improved articulation of total vowels and medial phonemes. Conclusions: Use of on-line tactile feedback from the Tickle Talker may benefit the articulation accuracy of some children, and the device may therefore be suitable to use with children who have not responded to more traditional speech training techniques.
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    Phonetic and phonological changes in the connected speech of children using a cochlear implant
    Grogan, M. L. ; Barker, E. J. ; Dettman, S. J. ; Blamey, P. J. ( 1995)
    In excess of 5,000 children, with profound hearing impairment, have received a cochlear implant hearing device. Researchers have recently begun to study the speech production skills of these children.1-6 This topic is of interest because the speech of young prelingually or postlingually deaf children is in a constant state of development. The effectiveness of the implant, therefore, must be measured in its ability to provide enough auditory information for the child to develop intelligible speech. This is in addition to the maintenance of intelligible speech in the case of older postlingually deaf children or adults. The aim of the present study was to investigate some characteristics of the connected speech of a selected group of children from the University of Melbourne Cochlear Implant Programme. More specifically, the study aimed to determine how these characteristics changed over time. Studies of conversational speech samples are useful in that they do not depend on imitation yet they do reflect the child's everyday communication skills and are sensitive to co-articulatory effects. Analyses performed on the preoperative and postoperative data aimed to detect both the phonetic and phonologic changes in the segmental features of speech. The following questions were addressed: 1) What was the pattern of change in the phonetic inventories from before to after implantation? 2) Was there a difference in the correct production of consonants depending on their position in the word? 3) Did the group performance for correct production of phonemes change significantly from before to after implantation? 4) Did performance change over time for individuals? 5) What were the most common phonologic processes and was there a significant reduction in any of these processes from before to after implantation?
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    Potential and limitations of cochlear implants in children
    Dowell, R. C. ; Blamey, P. J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1995)
    Multiple-channel cochlear implants have been in use with children and adolescents for 8 years. The speech perception, speech production, and language of many of these children has been investigated in some detail.l-4 There have been many predictions about factors that may affect the performance of children with implants. For instance, it has been suggested that children with a congenital loss of hearing would not have the same potential to benefit from a cochlear implant as those with an acquired loss. Similarly, it has been suggested that younger children are likely to gain more benefit from a cochlear implant because of the effect of various critical ages for language learning.5 As more results have become available, it has been our observation that the performance of any particular child with a cochlear implant does not appear to follow well-defined rules, and that generalizations about the potential of certain groups of children are likely to encounter many exceptions. We now have a large quantity of results for children using cochlear implants, and it may be possible to determine some of the factors that have a significant effect on performance. This paper will attempt to identify some of these factors by reviewing speech perception results for 100 children implanted with the Nucleus 22-channel cochlear prosthesis in Australia and speech perception results for adult patients. This analysis will use an "information processing" model of a child using a cochlear implant. That is, we will assume that a child will benefit from a cochlear implant in terms of speech perception, production, and language development, if he or she receives a maximal amount of auditory information from the environment, and is able to process this information successfully. This model divides potential limiting or predictive factors into those that affect the information presented to the auditory system (eg, implant technology, surviving auditory neurons) and those that affect the processing of this information (eg, development of central auditory pathways, amount and consistency of auditory input).
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    Speech self-monitoring by children using an electrotactile speech processor
    Galvin, K. L. ; Cowan, R. S. C. ; Sarant, J. Z. ; Tobey, E. A. ; Blamey, P. J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1995)
    For the profoundly and severely-to-profoundly hearing impaired child, lipreading and hearing aids are not always sufficient to develop adequate speech perception and production skills. Tactile devices have been investigated as a source of supplementary speech information, with most research focusing on speech perception benefits. However, speech production difficulties are also a major issue for these children, and research into tactile devices should include investigation of the option to use them as speech production aids. This paper will present the results from an initial examination of the suitability of one tactile device for speech production monitoring.
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    Improved electrotactile speech processor: Tickle Talker
    Cowan, R. S. C. ; Galvin, K. L. ; Sarant, J. Z. ; Millard, R. ; Blamey, P. J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1995)
    The Tickle Talker, an eight-channel electrotactile speech processor, has been developed from continuing research at the University of Melbourne. 'The development of the device has focused on production of reliable speech-processing hardware, design of cosmetically and ergonometrically acceptable electrode transducers, implementation of acute and chronic biomedical studies demonstrating device safety, design and testing of alternative speech-encoding strategies to provide benefit to speech perception and production, and design and testing of appropriate training methods for optimizing benefits. The Tickle Talker has been shown to provide benefits in supplementing lipreading or aided residual hearing for hearing-impaired adults and children. Improvements in speech processing have resulted in an increase in benefits to speech perception, and open the way for more flexible approaches to encoding speech input. Continuing development of the electrode circuitry has now produced a device that is robust and has an extended battery life. Safety studies have clearly demonstrated that there are no long-term contraindications to device use. The results suggest that the device has a role to play in rehabilitation programs for severely and profoundly hearing-impaired adults and children.
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    Signal processing for multichannel cochlear implants: past, present and future [Abstract]
    DOWELL, RICHARD ; SELIGMAN, PETER ; MCDERMOTT, HUGH ; Whitford, Lesley ; BLAMEY, PETER ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1994)
    Since the late 1970's, many groups have worked on developing effective signal processing for multichannel cochlear implants. The main aim of such schemes has been to provide the best possible speech perception for those using the device. Secondary aims of providing awareness and discrimination of environmental sounds and appreciation of music have also been considered. Early designs included some that attempted to simulate the normal cochlea. The application of such complex processing schemes was limited by the technology of the times. In some cases, researchers reverted to the use of single channel systems which could be controlled reliably with the existing technology. In other cases, as with the Australian implant, a simple multichannel processing scheme was devised that allowed a reliable implementation with available electronics. Over the next 15 years, largely due to the improvements in integrated circuit technology, the signal processors have slowly become more complex. Further psychophysical research has shown how additional information can be transferred effectively to implant users via electrical stimulation of the cochlea. This has lead to rapid improvement in the speech perception abilities of adults using cochlear implants. Some of the main developments in signal processing over the last 15 years will be discussed along with the latest speech perception results obtained with the new SPEAK processing scheme for the Australian 22-channel cochlear implant. Initial results for SPEAK show mean scores of 70% (equivalent to 85-90% phoneme scores) for open set monosyllabic word testing for experienced adult users. Although there remains a large range of performance for all users of cochlear implants, average speech perception scores for all implanted adults have also improved significantly with the developments in signal processing. It appears likely that multichannel cochlear implants will be a viable alternative for the treatment of severe hearing loss in the future.
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    A clinical report on vocabulary skills in cochlear implant users [Abstract]
    Dawson, P. ; Blamey, P. ; Dettman, S. ; Rowland, L. ; Barker, E. ; Cowan, R. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 1994)
    Receptive vocabulary results are reported for 32 children, adolescents and prelinguistically deafened adults implanted with the 22-electrode cochlear implant at the Melbourne Cochlear Implant Clinic. Age at implantation ranged from 2 years, 6 months to 20 years and implant use ranged from 1 year to 7 years, 8 months. There were significant gains from pre- to postoperative assessments on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for the majority of subjects. Rates of improvement found are compatible with previous reports on smaller numbers of implant users, but cannot be attributable unambiguously to use of the implant. The group postoperative performance was significantly higher than mean preoperative performance (n =25). The relationship of variables such as duration of implant use, duration of profound deafness and speech perception ability to improvement on the PPVT is discussed. Expressive vocabulary results on the Renfrew Word Finding Vocabulary Scale are reported for 11 of the subjects. Less substantial gains were made on this measure.