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Aging impairs the perception of emotional prosody in cochlear implant patients

It has been known for some time that people with normal hearing have age-related decline in both facial and voice emotion perception. In a paper in Ear & Hearing published this year (, we reported that adult postlingually deaf cochlear implant patients also show age-related decline in their ability to identify emotional prosody. Normally hearing people hear the primary cues to emotional prosody quite differently from cochlear implant patients. What might account for these aging effects? We are currently conducting research into the acoustic cues utilized by cochlear implant patients and normally hearing listeners to identify emotional prosody, how their utilization of these cues changes with age, and the extent to which cognitive status might play a role in these aging effects. We are also collaborating with Dr. Shuman He's lab at the Ohio State University and Dr. Zielong Xie's lab at Florida State University to examine cortical underpinnings of the observed effects. At Boys Town, we are collaborating with Dr. Adam Bosen's lab to study effects of cognition, and with Dr. Kaylah Lalonde's lab to study audiovisual integration of emotional information in speech.

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