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Prosody perception in hearing loss (Karimi-Boroujeni et al., 2023)

posted on 2023-01-18, 22:28 authored by Maryam Karimi-Boroujeni, Hilmi R. Dajani, Christian Giguère

Purpose: Prosody perception is an essential component of speech communication and social interaction through which both linguistic and emotional information are conveyed. Considering the importance of the auditory system in processing prosody-related acoustic features, the aim of this review article is to review the effects of hearing impairment on prosody perception in children and adults. It also assesses the performance of hearing assistive devices in restoring prosodic perception.

Method: Following a comprehensive online database search, two lines of inquiry were targeted. The first summarizes recent attempts toward determining the effects of hearing loss and interacting factors such as age and cognitive resources on prosody perception. The second analyzes studies reporting beneficial or detrimental impacts of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and bimodal stimulation on prosodic abilities in people with hearing loss.

Results: The reviewed studies indicate that hearing-impaired individuals vary widely in perceiving affective and linguistic prosody, depending on factors such as hearing loss severity, chronological age, and cognitive status. In addition, most of the emerging information points to limitations of hearing assistive devices in processing and transmitting the acoustic features of prosody.

Conclusions: The existing literature is incomplete in several respects, including the lack of a consensus on how and to what extent hearing prostheses affect prosody perception, especially the linguistic function of prosody, and a gap in assessing prosody under challenging listening situations such as noise. This review article proposes directions that future research could follow to provide a better understanding of prosody processing in those with hearing impairment, which may help health care professionals and designers of assistive technology to develop innovative diagnostic and rehabilitation tools.

Supplemental Material S1. Features of the assessment tools evaluating prosody perception.

Supplemental Material S2. Summary of studies focused on prosody perception in hearing aid and cochlear implant users.

Karimi-Boroujeni, M., Dajani, H. R., & Giguère, C. (2023). Perception of prosody in hearing-impaired individuals and users of hearing assistive devices: An overview of recent advances. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(2), 775–789.


This work was in part supported by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.