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Letters to Nature
Nature 264, 748 - 751 (23 December 1976); doi:10.1038/264748a0

Squeezing speech into the deaf ear

R. L. GREGORY & A. E. DRYSDALE

MRC Brain and Perception Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK

DEAFNESS caused by attenuation at the middle ear—conduction deafness—can be ameliorated by hearing aids and surgical procedures, but damage to the cochlea presents more severe problems1. We are altering the amplitudes of different parts of the speech wave relative to one another, so that the features normally determining intelligibility are selectively amplified. Tests using speech modified in this way will show whether major aspects of speech processing are unchanged by sensorineural deafness, and, if so, whether the improvement is large enough to justify the use of such processing in hearing aids.

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References

1. Morrison, A. W., Management of Sensorineural Deafness (Butterworths, London, 1975).
2. Gregory, R. L., and Wallace, J. G., Lancet, i, 83 (1958).
3. Gregory, R. L., Concepts and Mechanisms of Perception (Duckworth, London, 1974).
4. Ballantyne, J., Deafness (Churchill, London, 1970).
5. Bruel, P. V., Bruel and Kjaer tech. Rev., 1, 3 (1976).
6. Licklider, J. C. R., J. Acoust. Soc. Amer., 18, 429 (1900).
7. Villchur, E., J. Ac. Soc. Amer., 53, 1646 (1973).
8. Tong, D. A., Wireless World, 81, 79 (1975).
9. Herrick, G. O., and Fallis, H. W., IEE Conference Publication No 69, 21–23 (International Broadcasting Convention, 1970).



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