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April 1959

Electrocutaneous Perception of Speech Sounds

Author Affiliations

East Lansing, Mich.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;69(4):445-448. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730030455012

There is a possibility that within the cutaneous sensory receptors lies a means of aiding the deaf in the understanding and production of speech. The theory for this is that sounds have their own inherent characteristic patterns and will feel different or can be altered in such a way that they will feel different to the touch of the observer.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of differentiating vowels cutaneously by electrodes and to compare a 1-electrode transducer with a 2-electrode transducer.

Background  Previous Studies.—In 1947, Anderson1 conducted a series of exploratory tests in which several subjects participated. He reported that it was possible to feel differences between such words as Joe, toe, sew, how, now, cow, blue, and new. These tests were of a qualitative nature.In another series of tests, Anderson utilized the vowel and consonant word lists of Fletcher and Steinberg.