Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Speech motor learning in profoundly deaf adults

Abstract

Speech production, like other sensorimotor behaviors, relies on multiple sensory inputs—audition, proprioceptive inputs from muscle spindles and cutaneous inputs from mechanoreceptors in the skin and soft tissues of the vocal tract. However, the capacity for intelligible speech by deaf speakers suggests that somatosensory input alone may contribute to speech motor control and perhaps even to speech learning. We assessed speech motor learning in cochlear implant recipients who were tested with their implants turned off. A robotic device was used to alter somatosensory feedback by displacing the jaw during speech. We found that implant subjects progressively adapted to the mechanical perturbation with training. Moreover, the corrections that we observed were for movement deviations that were exceedingly small, on the order of millimeters, indicating that speakers have precise somatosensory expectations. Speech motor learning is substantially dependent on somatosensory input.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Experimental set-up and audiogram.
Figure 2: Sagittal plane jaw-movement paths.
Figure 3: Adaptation patterns in implant and control subjects.
Figure 4: There were no systematic acoustical effects associated with force field learning.
Figure 5: Kinematic and acoustical variability for implant (with implant on and off) and control subjects.

References

  1. Cowie, R., Douglas-Cowie, R.E. & Kerr, A.G. A study of speech deterioration in post-lingually deafened adults. J. Laryngol. Otol. 96, 101–112 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Waldstein, R.S. Effects of post-lingual deafness on speech production: implications for the role of auditory feedback. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 88, 2099–2114 (1990).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Perkell, J.S. et al. Time course of speech changes in response to unanticipated short-term changes in hearing state. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 505–518 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Hamlet, S.L. & Stone, M.L. Compensatory vowel characteristics resulting from the presence of different types of experimental dental protheses. J. Phon. 4, 199–218 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Lindblom, B., Lubker, J. & Gay, T. Formant frequencies of some xed-mandible vowels and a model of speech motor programming by predictive simulation. J. Phon. 7, 147–161 (1979).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Abbs, J.H. & Gracco, V.L. Sensorimotor actions in the control of multi-movement speech gestures. Trends Neurosci. 6, 391–395 (1983).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. McFarland, D.H. & Baum, S. Incomplete compensation to articulatory perturbation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 97, 1865–1873 (1995).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Savariaux, C., Perrier, P. & Orliaguet, J.P. Compensation strategies for the perturbation of the rounded vowel [u] using a lip tube: A study of the control of space in speech production. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 98, 2428–2442 (1995).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. McFarland, D.H., Baum, S.R. & Chabot, C. Speech compensation to structural modifications of the oral cavity. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 100, 1093–1104 (1996).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Aasland, W.A., Baum, S.R. & McFarland, D.H. Electropalatographic, acoustic and perceptual data on adaptation to a palatal perturbation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 2372–2381 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Tremblay, S., Shiller, D.M. & Ostry, D.J. Somatosensory basis of speech production. Nature 423, 866–869 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Nasir, S.M. & Ostry, D.J. Somatosensory precision in speech production. Curr. Biol. 16, 1918–1923 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Houde, J.F. & Jordan, F.M. Sensorimotor adaptation in speech production. Science 279, 1213–1216 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jones, J.A. & Munhall, K.G. Remapping auditory-motor representations in voice production. Curr. Biol. 15, 1768–1772 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Villacorta, V.M., Perkell, J.S. & Guenther, F.H. Sensorimotor adaptation to feedback perturbations of vowel acoustics and its relation to perception. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122, 2306–2319 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Guenther, F.H., Ghosh, S.S. & Tourville, J.A. Neural modeling and imaging of the cortical interactions underlying syllable production. Brain Lang. 96, 280–301 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lackner, J.R. & Dizio, P. Rapid adaptation to coriolis force perturbations of arm trajectory. J. Neurophysiol. 72, 299–313 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Shadmehr, R. & Mussa-Ivaldi, F.A. Adaptive representation of dynamics during learning of a motor task. J. Neurosci. 14, 3208–3224 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Purcell, D.W. & Munhall, K.G. Adaptive control of vowel formant frequency: evidence from real-time formant manipulation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 2288–2297 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kapteyn, T.S., Boezeman, E.H.J.F. & Snel, A.M. Bone-conduction measurement and calibration using the cancellation method. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 74, 1297–1299 (1983).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Purcell, D., Kunov, H. & Cleghorn, W. Objective calibration of bone conductors using otoacoustic emissions. Ear Hear. 20, 375–392 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Pörschmann, C. Influences of bone conduction and air conduction on the sound of one's own voice. Acta Acust. 86, 1038–1045 (2000).

    Google Scholar 

  23. Ernst, M.O. & Banks, M.S. Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature 415, 429–433 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Sober, S.J. & Sabes, P.N. Multisensory integration during motor planning. J. Neurosci. 23, 6982–6992 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Svirsky, M.A. & Tobey, E.A. Effect of different types of auditory stimulation on vowel formant frequencies in multichannel cochlear implant users. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 89, 2895–2904 (1991).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Svirsky, M.A., Lane, H., Perkell, J.S. & Wozniak, J. Effects of short-term auditory deprivation on speech production in adult cochlear implant users. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 92, 1284–1300 (1992).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank L. Polka, D. Purcell, D. Shiller and M. Tiede for advice and assistance with auditory testing. This research was supported by US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders grant DC-04669, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada) and Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (Québec).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

S.M.N. and D.J.O. designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. S.M.N. conducted the experiments and analyzed the data.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David J Ostry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nasir, S., Ostry, D. Speech motor learning in profoundly deaf adults. Nat Neurosci 11, 1217–1222 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2193

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2193

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing