Improved electrotactile speech processor: Tickle Talker

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl. 1995 Sep:166:454-6.


The Tickle Talker, an eight-channel electrotactile speech processor, has been developed from continuing research at the University of Melbourne. The development of the device has focused on production of reliable speech-processing hardware, design of cosmetically and ergonometrically acceptable electrode transducers, implementation of acute and chronic biomedical studies demonstrating device safety, design and testing of alternative speech-encoding strategies to provide benefit to speech perception and production, and design and testing of appropriate training methods for optimizing benefits. The Tickle Talker has been shown to provide benefits in supplementing lipreading or aided residual hearing for hearing-impaired adults and children. Improvements in speech processing have resulted in an increase in benefits to speech perception, and open the way for more flexible approaches to encoding speech input. Continuing development of the electrode circuitry has now produced a device that is robust and has an extended battery life. Safety studies have clearly demonstrated that there are no long-term contraindications to device use. The results suggest that the device has a role to play in rehabilitation programs for severely and profoundly hearing-impaired adults and children.

MeSH terms

  • Deafness / rehabilitation*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Hearing Aids
  • Humans
  • Sensory Aids*
  • Speech Perception*