Vocal Emotion Production of Pre-lingually Deafened Cochlear Implant Children with Residual Acoustic Hearing
Vocal emotion production is important for social interactions in daily life. Previous studies found that pre-lingually deafened cochlear implant (CI) children without residual acoustic hearing had significant deficits in producing pitch cues for vocal emotions as compared to post-lingually deafened CI adults, normal-hearing (NH) children, and NH adults. In light of the importance of residual acoustic hearing for the development of vocal emotion production, this study tested whether pre-lingually deafened CI children with residual acoustic hearing may produce similar pitch cues for vocal emotions as the other participant groups. Sixteen pre-lingually deafened CI children with residual acoustic hearing, nine post-lingually deafened CI adults with residual acoustic hearing, twelve NH children, and eleven NH adults were asked to produce ten semantically neutral sentences in happy or sad emotion. The results showed that there was no significant group effect for the ratio of mean fundamental frequency (F0) and the ratio of F0 standard deviation between emotions. Instead, CI children showed significantly greater intensity difference between emotions than CI adults, NH children, and NH adults. In CI children, aided pure-tone average hearing threshold of acoustic ear was correlated with the ratio of mean F0 and the ratio of duration between emotions. These results suggest that residual acoustic hearing with low-frequency pitch cues may facilitate the development of vocal emotion production in pre-lingually deafened CI children.