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Développement typique et atypique de la production de parole : caractéristiques segmentales et intelligibilité de la parole d’enfants porteurs d’un implant cochléaire et d’enfants normo-entendants de 5 à 11 ans

Abstract : As of 2010, cochlear implant has been used by over 200 000 persons (adults and children) worldwide and by 10 000 persons in France. Technology has largely improved since the first devices were put on the market in the 1980’s, and it now provides its user with more and more detailed acoustical information about the sounds of their environment in general, and about speech sounds in particular. However, perception with a cochlear implant remains limited, which leads to persisting difficulties in producing some speech sounds, even after several years of implant use. These difficulties in speech production can translate into a lower intelligibility, with effects on interactions with family and community members for its users, especially for children.A large body of studies in the literature focusses on short-term effects and gains of cochlear implant for young children and infants, but fewer studies in speech production in school-age children are available, especially in French-speaking children. The goal of this project is to assess the difficulties in the production of selected phonological contrasts in cochlear-implanted children, several years after cochlear implantation, and the factors influencing their intelligibility.For this thesis, we recorded thirteen 6;6-to-10;7 year old, pre- or perilinguistically deaf children wearing cochlear implants since they were 1;1 to 6;6 years old, with more than a year of use, and twenty normal-hearing age-matched children (chronological age ranging from 5;7 to 10;6 years).In a first experiment, we compared the acoustical characteristics of ten oral vowels, six stops and three fricatives of French. We also studied the realization of coarticulation in plosive-vowel sequences in these two groups of children.Our results show a high degree of similarity in typical and implant using children, and several differences, for example, for front rounded vowels, alveolar fricatives and velar stops. These differences can be explained by the implant’s technology and its use by the child. They also show the importance of several factors in phonological development: articulatory constraints, perceptual constraints, characteristics of language input and mother tongue.In a second experiment, we designed a method to perceptually assess the intelligibility of speech: 9 expert and 17 naïve French-speaking listeners participated in this experiment.Our perceptual assessment of intelligibility shows 1) no effect of expertise since grades given by expert and naïve listeners are correlated, 2) an effect of hearing level on intelligibility since cochlear-implanted children are less intelligible than their normal-hearing peers, and 3) a better intelligibility in early implanted children (before 20 months) but no effect of duration of implant use on intelligibility.This work emphasizes the benefits for oral communication provided by cochlear implants, but also the remaining difficulties, that need to be taken into acount for rehabilitation and support from the child’s family, school and society.Our study also provides both reference data on late stages of phonological development in French-speaking children, and a corpus of speech production which can be used for further research on typical and pathological speech development.
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Bénédicte Grandon. Développement typique et atypique de la production de parole : caractéristiques segmentales et intelligibilité de la parole d’enfants porteurs d’un implant cochléaire et d’enfants normo-entendants de 5 à 11 ans. Linguistique. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAL029⟩. ⟨tel-01690615⟩

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