The Effect of Talker- and Listener-Related Factors on Intelligibility for a Real-Word, Open-Set Perception Test The aims of this study were to evaluate whether talker intelligibility is consistent across listeners differing in age and gender and to investigate the process of attunement to talker characteristics in children and adults. Word intelligibility rates were obtained from 135 listeners (adults, 11–12-year-olds, and 7–8-year-olds) for 45 talkers from ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2004
The Effect of Talker- and Listener-Related Factors on Intelligibility for a Real-Word, Open-Set Perception Test
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Duncan Markham
    University College London, London, U.K.
  • Valerie Hazan
    University College London, London, U.K.
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: val@phon.ucl.ac.uk
  • Contact author: Valerie Hazan, PhD, Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1 6BT, United Kingdom. E-mail: val@phon.ucl.ac.uk
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2004
The Effect of Talker- and Listener-Related Factors on Intelligibility for a Real-Word, Open-Set Perception Test
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2004, Vol. 47, 725-737. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/055)
History: Received March 25, 2003 , Accepted January 5, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2004, Vol. 47, 725-737. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/055)
History: Received March 25, 2003; Accepted January 5, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

The aims of this study were to evaluate whether talker intelligibility is consistent across listeners differing in age and gender and to investigate the process of attunement to talker characteristics in children and adults. Word intelligibility rates were obtained from 135 listeners (adults, 11–12-year-olds, and 7–8-year-olds) for 45 talkers from a homogeneous accent group. There were 2 test conditions, each containing multiple talkers. Both test conditions contained multiple talkers. In the single-word condition, key words were presented in isolation, whereas in the triplet condition, triplets of key words were preceded by a precursor sentence by the same talker. For identical word materials, word intelligibility at a signal-to-noise ratio of +6 dB varied significantly across talkers from 81.2% to 96.4%. Overall, younger listeners made significantly more errors than older children or adults, and women talkers were more intelligible than other classes of talkers. The relative intelligibility of the 45 talkers was highly consistent across listener groups, suggesting that talker intelligibility is primarily determined by talker-related factors rather than by the interrelation of talker- and listener-related factors. The presence of a precursor sentence providing indexical information did improve word intelligibility for the bottom quartile of listeners in each of the listener groups.

Acknowledgment
This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust (055651/ Z/98/ JRS/ JP/ JAT). We thank staff and pupils at City of London School for Boys, St. Christopher’s School, Notting Hill and Ealing Secondary School, Broomwood Hall, Newton Preparatory School, St. Paul’s Cathedral School, and Thomas’s Preparatory School, Battersea.
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