Speaking Clearly for Children With Learning Disabilities Sentence Perception in Noise Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2003
Speaking Clearly for Children With Learning Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ann R. Bradlow
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Nina Kraus
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Erin Hayes
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Ann Bradlow, Northwstern University, Department of Linguistics, 2016 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-4090.
    Contact author: Ann Bradlow, Northwstern University, Department of Linguistics, 2016 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-4090.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: abradlow@northwestern.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2003
Speaking Clearly for Children With Learning Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 80-97. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/007)
History: Received September 4, 2001 , Accepted August 5, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 80-97. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/007)
History: Received September 4, 2001; Accepted August 5, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 159

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.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Trent Nicol, Bradley Wible, and Pamela Horstmann. We are also grateful to Rosalie Uchanski for helpful discussions regarding the clear speech test design. This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants DC 03762 and DC 01510.
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