Auditory and Auditory-Visual Perception of Clear and Conversational Speech Research has shown that speaking in a deliberately clear manner can improve the accuracy of auditory speech recognition. Allowing listeners access to visual speech cues also enhances speech understanding. Whether the nature of information provided by speaking clearly and by using visual speech cues is redundant has not been determined. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1997
Auditory and Auditory-Visual Perception of Clear and Conversational Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Karen S. Helfer
    Department of Communication Disorders University of Massachusetts Amherst
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1997
Auditory and Auditory-Visual Perception of Clear and Conversational Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1997, Vol. 40, 432-443. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4002.432
History: Received May 16, 1996 , Accepted November 20, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1997, Vol. 40, 432-443. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4002.432
History: Received May 16, 1996; Accepted November 20, 1996

Research has shown that speaking in a deliberately clear manner can improve the accuracy of auditory speech recognition. Allowing listeners access to visual speech cues also enhances speech understanding. Whether the nature of information provided by speaking clearly and by using visual speech cues is redundant has not been determined. This study examined how speaking mode (clear vs. conversational) and presentation mode (auditory vs. auditory-visual) influenced the perception of words within nonsense sentences. In Experiment 1, 30 young listeners with normal hearing responded to videotaped stimuli presented audiovisually in the presence of background noise at one of three signal-to-noise ratios. In Experiment 2, 9 participants returned for an additional assessment using auditory-only presentation. Results of these experiments showed significant effects of speaking mode (clear speech was easier to understand than was conversational speech) and presentation mode (auditoryvisual presentation led to better performance than did auditory-only presentation). The benefit of clear speech was greater for words occurring in the middle of sentences than for words at either the beginning or end of sentences for both auditory-only and auditory-visual presentation, whereas the greatest benefit from supplying visual cues was for words at the end of sentences spoken both clearly and conversationally. The total benefit from speaking clearly and supplying visual cues was equal to the sum of each of these effects. Overall, the results suggest that speaking clearly and providing visual speech information provide complementary (rather than redundant) information.

Acknowledgments
I would like to thank the many students who played a role in the development of the nonsense sentence material used in this study, including Kim Aaronson, Suzanne Alper, Julie Jodoin, and Teresa Konieczny. Appreciation also is extended to Ken Grant and Quentin Summerfield for their useful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Portions of this paper were presented at the 1996 American Academy of Audiology annual conference. This project was supported in part by a University of Massachusetts Faculty Research Grant.
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