Fundamental frequency (F0) information extracted from low‐pass‐filtered speech and aurally presented as frequency‐modulated sinusoids can greatly improve speechreading performance [Grant etal., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 77, 671–677 (1985)]. To use this source of information, listeners must be able to detect the presence or absence of F0 (i.e., voicing), discriminate changes in frequency, and make judgments about the linguistic meaning of perceived variations in F0. In the present study, normally hearing and hearing‐impaired subjects were required to locate the stressed peak of an intonation contour according to the extent of frequency transition at the primary peak. The results showed that listeners with profound hearing impairments required frequency transitions that were 1.5–6 times greater than those required by normally hearing subjects. These results were consistent with the subjects’ identification performance for intonation and stress patterns in natural speech, and suggest that natural variations in F0 may be too small for some impaired listeners to perceive and follow accurately.

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