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Abstract

Today, deaf-born infants can be implanted with cochlear implants as early as six months after birth. Studies have shown that early speech practice leads to drmatically improved pronunciation and elocution. We developed FunSpeech, a "serious game" that aims to help very young implanted children to improve their speech production skills by frequent practice. FunSpeech provides an engaging and playful experience that motivates children to practice their speech autonomously as frequently as possible. Signal processing algorithms and classification methods were developed to identify meaningful sounds, volume levels, and first speech sounds. Most games have been tested with good preliminary results in a control population of normal hearing children. This indicates that FunSpeech has the potential to successfully fulfill the gap in applications targeting speech-production skills in very young implanted children.

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