Speaking clearly for children with learning disabilities: sentence perception in noise

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2003 Feb;46(1):80-97. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2003/007).

Abstract

This study compared the speech-in-noise perception abilities of children with and without diagnosed learning disabilities (LDs) and investigated whether naturally produced clear speech yields perception benefits for these children. A group of children with LDs (n = 63) and a control group of children without LDs (n = 36) were presented with simple English sentences embedded in noise. Factors that varied within participants were speaking style (conversational vs. clear) and signal-to-noise ratio (-4 dB vs. -8 dB); talker (male vs. female) varied between participants. Results indicated that the group of children with LDs had poorer overall sentence-in-noise perception than the control group. Furthermore, both groups had poorer speech perception with decreasing signal-to-noise ratio; however the children with LDs were more adversely affected by a decreasing signal-to-noise ratio than the control group. Both groups benefited substantially from naturally produced clear speech, and for both groups, the female talker evoked a larger clear speech benefit than the male talker. The clear speech benefit was consistent across groups; required no listener training; and, for a large proportion of the children with LDs, was sufficient to bring their performance within the range of the control group with conversational speech. Moreover, an acoustic comparison of conversational-to-clear speech modifications across the two talkers provided insight into the acoustic-phonetic features of naturally produced clear speech that are most important for promoting intelligibility for this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities*
  • Male
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Acoustics
  • Speech Discrimination Tests
  • Speech Perception / physiology*