Three experiments were performed to obtain vibrotactile sensitivity thresholds from hearing children and adults, and from deaf children. An adaptive two-interval forced-choice procedure was used to obtain estimates of the 70.7% point on the psychometric sensitivity curve. When hearing children of 5–6 and 9–10 years of age and adults were tested with sinusoids and haversine pulse stimuli, at 10, 100, 160, and 250 Hz or pps, respectively, only the 10-Hz stimulus resulted in an age effect. For this stimulus, young children were significantly less sensitive than adults. When sinusoids were again tested at 20, 40, 80, and 160 Hz, a small overall effect of age was observed with a significant effect only at 20 Hz. Two prelingually profoundly deaf children were tested with haversine pulse trains at 10, 50, 100, 160, and 250 pps. Both children were at least as sensitive to the tactile stimulation as were the hearing children and adults. Pulsatile stimulation, compared to sinusoidal stimulation, exhibited relatively flat threshold versus frequency functions. The present results, demonstrating no age effect for pulsatile stimulation and similar performance for deaf and hearing children, suggest that pulsatile stimulation would be appropriate in vibrotactile speech communication aids for the deaf.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics