[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human voice is important for social communication because voices carry speech and other information such as a person's physical characteristics and affective state. Further restricted temporal cortical regions are specifically involved in voice processing. In cochlear-implanted deaf patients, the processor alters the spectral cues which are crucial for the perception of the paralinguistic information of human voices. The aim of this study was to assess the abilities of voice discrimination in cochlear-implant (CI) users and in normal-hearing subjects (NHS) using a CI simulation (vocoder). In NHS the performance in voice discrimination decreased when reducing the spectral information by decreasing the number of channels of the vocoder. In CI patients with different delays after implantation we observed a strong impairment in voice discrimination at time of activation of the neuroprosthesis. No significant improvement can be detected in patients after two years of experience of the implant while they have reached a higher level of recovery of speech perception, suggesting a dissociation in the dynamic of functional recuperation of speech and voice processing. In addition to the lack of spectral cues due to the implant processor, we hypothesized that the origin of such deficit could derive from a crossmodal reorganization of the temporal voice areas in CI patients.
Hearing research 12/2010; 275(1-2):120-9. · 2.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In functional neuroimaging studies, task-related activity refers to the signal difference between the stimulation and rest conditions. We asked whether long-term changes in the sensory environment may affect brain activity at rest. To answer this question, we compared regional cerebral blood flow between a group of normally hearing controls and a group of cochlear-implanted (CI) deaf patients. Here we present evidence that long-term alteration of auditory experience, such as profound deafness followed by partial auditory recuperation through cochlear implantation, leads to functional cortical reorganizations at rest. Without any visual or auditory stimulation, CI subjects showed changes of cerebral blood flow in the visual, auditory cortex, Broca area, and in the posterior temporal cortex with an increment of activity in these areas from the time of activation of the implant to less than a year after the implantation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speechreading is an important form of communicative activity that improves social adaptation in deaf adults. Cochlear implantation allows interaction between the visual speechreading abilities developed during deafness and the auditory sensory experiences acquired through use of the cochlear implant. Crude auditory information provided by the implant is analyzed in parallel with conjectural information from speechreading, thus creating new profiles of audiovisual integration with implications for brain plasticity. Understanding the peculiarities of change in speechreading after cochlear implantation may improve our understanding of brain plasticity and provide useful information for functional rehabilitation of implanted patients. In this article, we present a generalized review of our recent studies and indicate perspectives for further research in this domain.
Scandanavian Journal of Psychology 10/2009; 50(5):437-44. · 1.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies on gender differences in speech processing lead to the suggestion that women use the neural network of predictive and integrative analysis of speech to a larger extent than men. During speech-reading there is indeed a lack of reliable clues for word recognition which should emphasize predictive and integrative strategies of the brain. Our study aimed to explore gender differences in deaf and cochlear implanted (CI) patients at different levels during speech-reading, for words or phonemes, that we consider, correspond to increased involvement of predictive and integrative analysis. We collected speech-reading scores in a control group of normally hearing subjects (n=42) and in a group of deaf patients - who are good speech-readers - tested before, early after and late after cochlear implantation (n=97). Patient groups were almost equally distributed between follow-up and new patients. In normally hearing controls, women speech-read words better than men. This difference was also observed in all patients but not in experienced cochlear implant users. We did not observe a gender difference during speech-reading of isolated phonemes neither for controls nor for patients. We conclude that the better speech-reading ability of women for words but not for phonemes is in line with their greater use of predictive and integrative strategies for speech processing. Furthermore, we observed a progressive cross-modal compensation in male CI users after cochlear implantation which suggests a synergetic perceptual facilitation involving the visual and the recovering auditory modalities. This could lead to an improved performance in both auditory and visual modalities, the latter being constantly recruited to complement the crude information provided by the implant. Altogether, our data provide insights into cross-modal compensation in the adult brain following sensory privation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cochlear implant (CI) is a neuroprosthesis that allows profoundly deaf patients to recover speech intelligibility. This recovery goes through long-term adaptative processes to build coherent percepts from the coarse information delivered by the implant. Here we analyzed the longitudinal postimplantation evolution of word recognition in a large sample of CI users in unisensory (visual or auditory) and bisensory (visuoauditory) conditions. We found that, despite considerable recovery of auditory performance during the first year postimplantation, CI patients maintain a much higher level of word recognition in speechreading conditions compared with normally hearing subjects, even several years after implantation. Consequently, we show that CI users present higher visuoauditory performance when compared with normally hearing subjects with similar auditory stimuli. This better performance is not only due to greater speechreading performance, but, most importantly, also due to a greater capacity to integrate visual input with the distorted speech signal. Our results suggest that these behavioral changes in CI users might be mediated by a reorganization of the cortical network involved in speech recognition that favors a more specific involvement of visual areas. Furthermore, they provide crucial indications to guide the rehabilitation of CI patients by using visually oriented therapeutic strategies.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2007; 104(17):7295-300. · 9.74 Impact Factor