Repercussions of the pitch degradation induced by cochlear implants for children’s development

International Speaker

Mickael Deroch; Research Associate, Center for Research on Brain, Language, and Music, McGill University

Abstract: Voice pitch cues are an important factor for the development of oral communication in children. However, pitch is not transmitted with sufficient fidelity in cochlear implants. As a result, children who grow up wearing a cochlear implant have to learn to recognize and produce speech, particularly its prosodic aspects, with different strategies than those employed by children with normal hearing. This presentation will review recent evidence of these complex pitch deficits, the impact of experience-dependent neuroplasticity, and how they may translate behaviorally and neurophysiologically into higher-level tasks, such as emotion processing, sensorimotor integration, and perhaps even short-term memory. 

Speaker Biography:Dr. Deroche is interested in the perception and production of voice pitch, using behavioral and neurophysiological techniques. He is originally from France, coming from an engineering background with a strong interest in auditory perception, be it with music or speech. In 2009, he completed his PhD in Cardiff University with John Culling studying the use of pitch in cocktail-party situations. From 2010 to 2015, he worked with Monita Chatterjee at the University of Maryland and Charles Limb at Johns Hopkins, documenting substantial deficits in pitch sensitivity by cochlear implanted children and how they translate into further deficits in emotion and prosody in speech. Since 2015, he works in Montreal with Vincent Gracco, Alexandre Lehmann, and Anthony Zeitouni, on a number of projects spanning auditory masking, emotion processing, sensorimotor integration, cognitive load and short-term memory in listeners with impoverished hearing as well as other populations of interest (musicianship, stuttering, Parkinson’s disease).

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