Speech Perception Abilities of Adults With Dyslexia: Is There Any Evidence for a True Deficit? PurposeThis study investigated whether adults with dyslexia show evidence of a consistent speech perception deficit by testing phoneme categorization and word perception in noise.MethodSeventeen adults with dyslexia and 20 average readers underwent a test battery including standardized reading, language and phonological awareness tests, and tests of speech perception. Categorization of ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2009
Speech Perception Abilities of Adults With Dyslexia: Is There Any Evidence for a True Deficit?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Valerie Hazan
    University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Souhila Messaoud-Galusi
    University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Stuart Rosen
    University College London (UCL), United Kingdom
  • Suzan Nouwens
    University of Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • Bethanie Shakespeare
    UCL, United Kingdom
  • Contact author: Valerie Hazan, Department of Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, UCL, Chandler House, 2, Wakefield Street, London WC1N 1PF, United Kingdom. E-mail: v.hazan@ucl.ac.uk.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   December 01, 2009
Speech Perception Abilities of Adults With Dyslexia: Is There Any Evidence for a True Deficit?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1510-1529. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0220)
History: Received October 22, 2008 , Accepted June 1, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1510-1529. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0220)
History: Received October 22, 2008; Accepted June 1, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 41

PurposeThis study investigated whether adults with dyslexia show evidence of a consistent speech perception deficit by testing phoneme categorization and word perception in noise.

MethodSeventeen adults with dyslexia and 20 average readers underwent a test battery including standardized reading, language and phonological awareness tests, and tests of speech perception. Categorization of a pea/bee voicing contrast was evaluated using adaptive identification and discrimination tasks, presented in quiet and in noise, and a fixed-step discrimination task. Two further tests of word perception in noise were presented.

ResultsThere were no significant group differences for categorization in quiet or noise, across- and within-category discrimination as measured adaptively, or word perception, but average readers showed better across- and within-category discrimination in the fixed-step discrimination task. Individuals did not show consistent poor performance across related tasks.

ConclusionsThe small number of group differences, and lack of consistent poor individual performance, suggests weak support for a speech perception deficit in dyslexia. It seems likely that at least some poor performances are attributable to nonsensory factors like attention. It may also be that some individuals with dyslexia have speech perceptual acuity that is at the lower end of the normal range and exacerbated by nonsensory factors.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust (076499/Z/05/Z). The authors thank Mike Coleman who designed the testing software used in this study, Steve Nevard for technical support, and Sam Eaton-Rosen for producing Figure 1.
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