Content

User Guide

Latest Update

 

Modules

BASIC module

OPENSET module

PHONE module

SRT module

MCI module

TEST module

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Express™: Basic Module

 

Welcome to Sound Express™, an interactive program that lets you take control of your listening rehabilitation independently at home. You gain practice in discriminating and identifying sounds and speech components through a series of self-paced modules that cover different aspects of the listening process. Each module presents a range of trials in which you need to match a given sound to one of several images, words or sentences. The level of difficulty is adjusted to match your developing listening skills. The program provides feedback, highlighting areas you can continue to practice. This feedback can be shared with your clinician or therapist, who can provide further advice on your rehabilitation. Focused on practice and improvement of your listening skills, Sound and Beyond compliments your clinic rehabilitation program. Goodluck with your listening practice!

 

Pure Tones | Environmental Sounds | Voice Genders | Vowels | Consonants | Everyday Words | Everyday Sentences | Music Appreciation

 

Group 1: Pure Tones

In this module you gain practice in discriminating between different tones. These are the same tones you will have experienced in your mapping sessions. As well as making future mapping sessions easier, this may help your ability to hear differences in the pitch of sounds, a good starting point in developing your language recognition skills. Pitch adds melody to the spoken word and sentence, and is a key component to understanding nuances in conversation.

Pitch can be most easily thought of as the different notes on a piano. When you press a key on the left-hand side of the piano, you will generally hear a 'low' pitch; when you press a key on the right-hand side of the piano, you will generally hear a 'high' pitch. These pitch qualities will generally hold true, even if the loudness of the sounds change. By listening carefully to the tones during training and testing, you are given a better sense of the different pitches provided by your Cochlear implant.

 

How the training works

All levels present discrimination tasks. In each task, three sounds (tones) are played, and their corresponding response buttons highlighted. Two of the sounds have the same pitch, while the other sound has a different pitch. Click on the response button you think has the different pitch.

As you move up through the levels of difficulty, the tone comparisons (the differences between tones) become more closely spaced and therefore more difficult to discriminate between. Beginning at level 1, the tone comparisons are widely spaced. By level 5, the tone comparisons are the most narrowly spaced. Some tone comparisons may be very difficult, so don't be disappointed if you cannot discriminate all the tones.

 

Summary

Number of trials

84

Number of stimuli

20 tones

Training method

Discrimination

Number of response choices

3

Level 1 (tone separation)

9

Level 2 (tone separation)

7

Level 3 (tone separation)

5

Level 4 (tone separation)

3

Level 5 (tone separation)

1

 

Tips

You can use the Preview button to listen to all the tones before training to get a sense of the pitch range provided by your Cochlear implant.

 

Group 2: Environmental Sounds

In this module you can develop your ability to identify common everyday sounds. Even when speech recognition is difficult, the Cochlear implant can provide important hearing information about the world around you, such as the sound of a bird chirping, a car horn blaring or a doorbell ringing. Being able to associate particular sounds with objects or events in your surrounding, may assist you in developing your auditory memory abilities.

Some users will notice that things that sounded one way before they started using the Cochlear implant, now sound quite different. For instance, the sound of your telephone ringing may be quite different now, possible clearer, higher pitched and so on. In this case you need to reassociate the now unfamiliar sound with its source. Once you have re-identified these sounds, you can then develop a memory for some of the many, sometimes confusing new sounds you encounter

 

How the training works

All levels present identification tasks. In each task, a sound is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the sound.

As you move up through the levels of difficulty, the number of response buttons will increase. Level 1 has two response choices, level 2 has four, level 3 has six, and level 4 has six response choices along with background noise.

 

Summary

Number of trials

25

Number of stimuli

100 environmental sounds

Training method

Identification

Level 1 (number of response choices)

2

Level 2 (number of response choices)

4

Level 3 (number of response choices)

6

Level 4 (number of response choices)

6 (with background noise)

.

Tip

You can use the Preview function to listen to all 100 environmental sounds. 10 sounds are shown on each page and you can access the next group of sounds by clicking on the Next Page button.

Group 3: Male Female Recognition

In this module you can practice your ability to distinguish between the voices of different speakers.

Many implant users, even those with good speech recognition abilities, have difficulty telling one voice from another, or even a male voice from a female voice. By concentrating on the quality of a speaker's voice, you may better hear the differences between speakers of different genders and perhaps of the same gender (a more difficult task).

The words used in this module are: had, hod, hawed, head, hayed, heard, hid, heed, hoed, hood, hud, who'd. This limited set of words is used so you can concentrate on qualitative differences between the voices of different speakers, rather than trying to identify the word being spoken.

With training, you may better be able to identify the gender of a speaker by the quality of their voice. And being able to more easily recognise who is talking in a conversation may make it easier for you to follow conversations.

 

How the training works

Two different training methods are used, depending on the level of difficulty.

  • Levels 1 and 2 provides discrimination tasks. In each task, three sounds (all the same word, spoken by two different speakers) are played, and their corresponding response buttons highlighted. For Level 1, within each trial, a male and a female speaker will each speak the same word (such as 'had').
  • For Level 2, either two male or two female speakers will each speak the same word. Click on the button you think is the different speaker.
  • Level 3 provides identification tasks. A word is presented and you must choose from among the four response buttons representing the different speakers (male-1, male-2, female-1 female-2). Click on the speaker you think spoke the word.

 

Summary

Number of trials

48

Number of stimuli

48 (12 words by four speakers)

Number of speakers

4 (two male and two female)

Level 1

Different gender

Training method

Discrimination

Number of response choices

3

Level 2

Same gender

Training method

Discrimination

Number of response choices

3

Level 3

Different gender

Training method

Identification

Number of response choices

4

 

Tips

Try repeating the words you hear in this module, and listen to how your pronunciation compares to the speaker’s voice. As children learn language and new words through repetition, practice through repetition within these modules is recommended. You can use the Preview function to listen to all 12 words spoken by each of the four speakers. Compare the four speakers directly by clicking on the same word for each speaker. Listen for any large pitch differences between speakers as you listen to the word.

 

Group 4: Vowel Recognition

In this module you gain practice in telling the difference between vowel sounds. Vowel sounds provide a great deal of information within speech and are perhaps the most important part of speech. They add emotion and melody to a speaker’s voice, as well as subtle changes to the meaning of the words and sentences they use.

 

By training with many different words (such as cat, kit, cut, etc.) spoken by different speakers, you may better be able to identify vowel sounds. Monosyllable words were chosen so that you can concentrate mainly on the middle vowel sound of each word. Improving your vowel recognition will improve your understanding of words and sentences.

 

How the training works

Several different training methods are used, depending on the level of difficulty. Within each level of difficulty, there are multiple 'steps' that make the training progressively more difficult.

  • Level 1 provides simple discrimination tasks. You have to listen for difference between sounds, rather than try to identify sounds, which can be much more difficult.
  • Level 2 provides a mix of discrimination and identification tasks. You have to compare two words spoken by one speaker, to a third word spoken by a different speaker, with the third word matching one of the two previous words.
  • Level 3 provides an identification task. Click on the response button you think best matches the presented word.
  • Level 4 is similar to level 3, except that more difficult vowel contrasts are presented. As with level 3, an identification task is used. Click on the response button you think best matches the presented word.
  • Level 5 is the most difficult vowel training exercise. It is similar to level 4, but the words are played against a background of different amounts of additional background noise. Most implant users, even those who have good speech recognition abilities in quiet listening conditions, have great difficulty understanding speech in noisy backgrounds. Unfortunately, most real-world listening conditions involve some degree of background noise. The noise suppression settings in the speech processor can help to eliminate some background noise, but not completely. By training with speech in noise, you may be better able to separate the words from the background noise. Because word recognition in noise is very difficult, level 5 requires that you are capable of good recognition in quiet listening conditions. Similar to the level 3 and 4 exercises, an identification task is used. A word is presented in the presence of background noise and you must choose from the response button you think best matches the word.

 

Summary

Number of trials

50

Number of stimuli

4652 (1163 words by four speakers)

Number of speakers

4 (two male and two female)

Level 1

Vowel discrimination

Number of response choices

3

Number of steps

16

Level 2

Vowel discrimination

Number of response choices

2

Number of steps

16

Level 3

Vowel identification

Number of response choices

2, 4, 6, 9 (depending on step number)

Number of steps

16

Level 4

Vowel identification (within-category only)

Number of response choices

2, 4, 6, 9 (depending on step number)

Number of steps

18

Level 5

Vowel identification in noise (within-category only)

Number of response choices

4

Number of steps

16

 

Tips

You can use the Preview function to listen to all 1163 words spoken by each of the four speakers. This may be helpful in 'auditioning' unfamiliar words. You can also practice your word pronunciation by clicking on the preview words and comparing them to your own pronunciation. Listen for any general pitch differences that may be helpful in distinguishing words. For example, 'food' might sound low-pitched while 'feed' may sound higher-pitched.

 

Group 5: Consonant Recognition

This module develops your ability to recognise differences between consonant sounds. This helps you in your speech recognition, particular since different sounding consonants can have similar lip movements (for example, pat, bat, mat).

Although generally shorter and quieter than vowels, consonants are a very important part of speech. Perhaps you experienced difficulty in hearing soft consonant sounds before you received your Cochlear implant, which made speech recognition difficult. With the implant, the consonants may be more 'audible', but still difficult to identify. Indeed, consonants are often much more difficult to identify than vowels. By training with many different consonants (such as 'aBa', 'aDa', 'aSa', etc.) spoken by different speakers, you may better be able to identify consonant sounds. This will improve your ability to understand words and sentences.

 

How the training works

Several different training methods are used, depending on the level of difficulty. Within each level of difficulty, there are multiple 'steps' that make the training progressively more difficult.

  • Level 1 provides simple discrimination tasks. You have to listen for the difference between sounds, rather than try to identify sounds, which can be much more difficult. Three sounds (two different words, spoken by one speaker) are presented and the corresponding response buttons highlighted. The initial or final consonants are different between the two words, but the middle vowels are the same (for example: 'pass' and 'pack'). Click on the button you think is the different word.
  • Level 2 provides a mix of discrimination and identification tasks. You need to compare two words spoken by one speaker to a third word spoken by a different speaker, with the third word matching one of the two previous words. Three words are spoken, two by the same speaker, the third by a different speaker. The words differ only in their initial or final consonant. Click on the response button you think matches the third word.
  • Level 3 provides identification tasks. A word is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the word. The responses differ only in terms of the initial or final consonant.
  • Level 4 provides identification tasks similar to level 3. in this case tough, more difficult consonant contrasts are used: consonant/vowel (Ba, Da, Sa…) and vowel/consonant/vowel (aBa, aDa, aSa…) words. A word is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the word.
  • Level 5 is the most difficult consonant training exercise. It is similar to level 4, but the words are played against a background of different amounts of additional background noise. Most implant users, even those who have good speech recognition abilities in quiet listening conditions, have great difficulty understanding speech in noisy backgrounds. Unfortunately, most real-world listening conditions involve some degree of background noise. The noise suppression settings in the speech processor can help to eliminate some background noise, but not completely. By training with speech in noise, you may be better able to separate the words from the background noise. Because word recognition in noise is very difficult, level 5 requires that you are capable of good recognition in quiet listening conditions. Similar to the level 3 and 4 exercises, an identification task is used. A word is presented in the presence of background noise and you must choose from the response button you think best matches the word.

 

Summary

Number of trials

50

Number of stimuli

5132 in total:

4652 (1163 consonont/vowel/consonont words by four speakers)

80 (20 vowel/consonant/vowel words by four speakers)

80 (20 consonant/vowel by words four speakers)

Number of speakers

two male and two female

Level 1

Initial/final consonant discrimination

Number of response choices

3

Number of steps

16

Level 2

Initial/final consonant discrimination

Number of response choices

2

Number of steps

16

Level 3

Initial/final consonant discrimination

Number of response choices

2, 4, 6, 9 (depending on step number)

Number of steps

16

Level 4

Initial/middle consonant identification (within-category only)

Number of response choices

2, 4

Number of steps

18

Level 5

Initial consonant identification in noise (within-category only)

Training method

identification

Number of response choices

4

Number of steps

16

 

Tips

You can use the Preview function to listen to all 60 consonants spoken by each of the four speakers. This may be helpful in 'auditioning' unfamiliar consonants. You can also practice your consonant pronunciation by clicking on the preview words and comparing them to your own pronunciation. Listen for any general pitch, loudness or duration differences that may be helpful in distinguishing consonants. For example, 'aSHa' might sound fairly loud and long and somewhat high-pitched, while 'aWa' may sound relatively quiet, short and low-pitched. Remember that consonant recognition is one of the most difficult challenges for implant users; don’t be discouraged and know that the context of sentences and words may help you understand consonant sounds when absolute identification is too difficult.

Group 6: Word Discrimination

This module helps you to listen to common words used in everyday speech, including words for animals, foods, colours and so on. Like other modules, repeating the words and comparing your pronunciation to that of the speakers is an excellent way to practice.

The Word Training module differs from the Vowel Recognition module, in that words are organized according to a category or general theme (Animal, Food, Color, Family, Number, Time), instead of strictly according to acoustic similarities and differences. In the Word Training module, you will build a vocabulary of words (one, two or more syllables), as opposed to training to hear only small differences between words.

Some of the words you may have heard before, some you may not. With training, you will be better able to understand some of the commonly used words and phrases you may encounter in everyday life.

 

How the training works

The Word Discrimination module is not progressive - unlike the Vowel or Consonant Recognition modules there are no increasing levels of difficulty. For all training exercises, a simple identification task is used. A sound is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the sound.

 

Summary

Number of trials

25

Number of stimuli

2400 words (100 words by six categories by four speakers)

Number of speakers

4 (two male and two female)

Training method

Identification

Number of response choices

4

Number of word categories

6 (Animal, Food, Color, Family, Number, Time)

 

Tips

You can use the Preview function to listen to all 100 words in each category. It is also good practice to compare your pronunciation of the training words to that of the speakers. Also, listen for differences in the number of syllables in the presented word and the response choices.

Group 7: Everyday Sentences

This module presents typical sentences used in everyday conversation. Your previous experience with word discrimination may help you better hear the words used in the context of a sentence. While you may not hear all of the sentence, you may still be able to fill in the missing parts through hearing words you are familiar with. The more words you can identify the better able you may be in listening to and understanding complete sentences.

This module also introduces noise played as a background to the sentence. This is because conversations tend to take place against other competing noises. Developing your ability to isolate the spoken sentence and excluding the background noise is good practice for real-world listening situations. Even Cochlear implant users who have excellent sentence recognition in quiet listening conditions sometimes have greater difficulty when background noise is introduced.

In the Everyday Sentence training module, you will follow speech in its most natural form, as opposed to identifying isolated words (Word training) or recognizing small differences between words (Vowel or Consonant Recognition training). You may even find it easier to identify the correct sentence from among the four choices than identifying the isolated words, vowels or consonants in the other training exercises. Reading along with the response choices text is very helpful in this regard, analogous to lip-reading. However, without the benefit of lip-reading or text captions, sentence recognition may be very difficult (like talking on the telephone). The Everyday Sentence module will familiarize you with the sounds and rhythms of natural speech.

 

How the training works

All levels provide identification tasks. A sentence is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the sentence.

There are 4 levels of difficulty:

  • Level 1 presents sentences in quiet (no background noise).
  • Levels 2 through 4 presents the sentence against increasing amounts of background noise. Level 2 presents sentences that are much louder than the noise. For level 3, the differences in noise between the sentence and background is reduced . And for level 4, the noise is almost as loud as the speech (thus making it more difficult to extract the sentence).

 

Summary

Number of trials

25

Number of stimuli

1440 sentences (720 sentences by two speakers)

Number of speakers

2 (one male and one female)

Training method

Identification

Number of response choices

4

Level 1

No noise

Level 2

15 decibels difference

Level 3

10 decibels difference

Level 4

5 decibels difference

 

Tips

Try not to look at the response choices before the sentence plays; after the sentence finishes playing, look at the response choices and see whether any of them match your hearing of the sentence.

Group 8: Music Appreciation

This module lets you listen to and compare some common musical instruments and some common melodies. This may be a good place to begin your appreciation of music, or to re-establish your music listening experience.

Many people express different degrees of music appreciation with their Cochlear implant. Some enjoy music and can hear different instruments and melodies, while others do not enjoy music at all. Sometimes, the type of music or listening environment can greatly affect an implant user's experiences.

 

How the training works

The Music Appreciation module is not progressive in that there are no increasing levels of difficulty. For all training exercises, a simple identification task is used. A sound is presented and you must choose the response button you think best matches the sound.

 

Summary

Number of trials

18

Number of stimuli

9

Training method

Instrument identification

Number of response choices

4

Test Method

Melodies

Number of trials

16

Number of stimuli

16

Training method

Melody identification

Number of response choices

4

 

Tips

Some music and instruments may sound better than others. It can be helpful to watch real musicians play and 'track' their performance. This is somewhat like lip reading, in that it can be easier to understand the melody or instrument if you see how it is being played. Try listening to music with a lot of 'space' between sounds or instruments; music that leaves space for one solo instrument may be easier to follow than an entire orchestra playing at once.