The aim of this study was to determine which land line telephone and/or mobile/cellular telephone will enable an individual with a cochlear implant to achieve the best speech discrimination scores. Objective measurements and the subjective experience of the individual were used. The literature review provided an overview on the telephone abilities of individuals fitted with cochlear implants. In this study three factors, the quality of the telephone, the speaker's voice and different speech-coding strategies, were discussed and examined, in order to explore and explain the technical difficulties commonly experienced by this population regarding the successful use of a telephone. Data regarding various telephones and the influence different voice-types has on the telecommunication abilities were obtained through the execution of the methodology. Telephone abilities on five different telephones were assessed. Ten participants, four females and six males, fitted with the ESPrit 22, ESPrit 24 and ESPrit 3G Nucleus cochlear implants were used. The Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) open-set sentences were used and data was statistically analysed using a split plot design. Significant differences between different types of telephones were found. The results also suggested that different voice types have an impact on these individual's ability to use a telephone independently. Possible reasons such as different coding strategies, technical interference and quality of voices were discussed. Recommendations for developing rehabilitation programs, to obtain successful telephone competence for these individuals, were made and discussed. The study aimed to empower technologists working in this field to actively take note of the need for development and continuous research regarding various telephones. These telephones should enable more individuals fitted with cochlear implants to receive the maximum speech discrimination with the minimum interference. The findings of this study should encourage future research regarding this topic. A more extensive range of telephones should be used and compared to the findings in this study.
Dissertation (M (Communication Pathology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.