Robot talk!

When people are fitted with hearing aids, they find that the sounds they hear are quite distorted, which can make it hard to understand speech. The same is true of people fitted with cochlear implants, especially children. Over time, adults and children learn to “hear through” the distortion, but we do not know how they do this.

In this study, we test how children learn to make sense of speech that has been artificially distorted. Children will listen to a “robot” that asks them to tap different pictures on an iPad screen. We measure whether they can understand the sentences by monitoring if they follow the instructions in the distorted speech.