Bimodal benefits revealed by categorical perception of lexical tones in mandarin-speaking kindergarteners with a cochlear implant and a contralateral hearing aid

Hao Zhang, Jing Zhang, Gang Peng, Hongwei Ding, Yang Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Pitch reception poses challenges for individuals with cochlear implants (CIs), and adding a hearing aid (HA) in the nonimplanted ear is potentially beneficial. The current study used fine-scale synthetic speech stimuli to investigate the bimodal benefit for lexical tone categorization in Mandarin-speaking kindergarteners using a CI and an HA in opposite ears. Method: The data were collected from 16 participants who were required to complete two classical tasks for speech categorical perception (CP) with CI + HA device condition and CI alone condition. Linear mixed-effects models were constructed to evaluate the identification and discrimination scores across different device conditions. Results: The bimodal kindergarteners showed CP for the continuum varying from Mandarin Tone 1 and Tone 2. Moreover, the additional acoustic information from the contralateral HA contributes to improved lexical tone categorization, with a steeper slope, a higher discrimination score of between-category stimuli pair, and an improved peakedness score (i.e., an increased benefit magnitude for discriminations of between-category over within-category pairs) for the CI + HA condition than the CI alone condition. The bimodal kindergarteners with better residual hearing thresholds at 250 Hz level in the nonimplanted ear could perceive lexical tones more categorically. Conclusion: The enhanced CP results with bimodal listening provide clear evidence for the clinical practice to fit a contralateral HA in the nonimplanted ear in kindergarteners with unilateral CIs with direct benefits from the low-frequency acoustic hearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4238-4251
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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