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. 2015 Jul;54(7):461-6.
doi: 10.3109/14992027.2014.1001075. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Quantification of the Effects of Mandarin Dialect Differences on the Use of Norm-Referenced Speech Perception Tests

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Quantification of the Effects of Mandarin Dialect Differences on the Use of Norm-Referenced Speech Perception Tests

Ke Xu et al. Int J Audiol. .

Abstract

Objective: Determine the effects of Chinese dialects on results for the Mandarin HINT recorded with a talker speaking Standard Mandarin (Putonghua).

Design: Normally-hearing subjects with different dialect exposure histories and usage preferences were administered the Mandarin HINT, and results were compared with published norms. Additional published measures of the intelligibility and mutual intelligibility of Chinese dialects were used to identify dialects for which Putonghua is highly intelligible.

Study sample: One sample (N = 19) was exposed to a variety of dialects throughout China during childhood, and used Putonghua as adults. A second sample (N = 22) was exposed to Sichuanhua (the dialect found in Sichuan province) during childhood, and used Sichuanhua as adults.

Results: The average difference in SRTs for the Putonghua and Sichuanhua groups was 0.66 dB, with the Sichuanhua group's SRTs slightly higher. Means for neither group fell outside the confidence intervals for the norms. Putonghua is intelligible for 98% of Sichuanhua dialect users, and for over 90% of the users of two-thirds of the remaining Chinese regional dialects.

Conclusions: Norm-referenced speech perception tests, such as the Mandarin HINT, can be used with speakers of Chinese regional dialects for whom Putonghua is highly intelligible. Small differences in dialect-specific norms are not clinically significant.

Keywords: Hearing in noise test (HINT); Mandarin hearing in noise test (MHINT); dialect; speech reception threshold (SRT).

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