The Effect of Talker and Intonation Variability on Speech Perception in Noise in Children With Dyslexia PurposeIn this study, the authors aimed to determine whether children with dyslexia (hereafter referred to as “DYS children”) are more affected than children with average reading ability (hereafter referred to as “AR children”) by talker and intonation variability when perceiving speech in noise.MethodThirty-four DYS and 25 AR children were tested ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2013
The Effect of Talker and Intonation Variability on Speech Perception in Noise in Children With Dyslexia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Valerie Hazan
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Souhila Messaoud-Galusi
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Stuart Rosen
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Correspondence to Valerie Hazan: v.hazan@ucl.ac.uk
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Beverly Wright
    Associate Editor: Beverly Wright×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   February 01, 2013
The Effect of Talker and Intonation Variability on Speech Perception in Noise in Children With Dyslexia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 44-62. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0107)
History: Received April 20, 2010 , Revised October 25, 2010 , Accepted June 8, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 44-62. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0107)
History: Received April 20, 2010; Revised October 25, 2010; Accepted June 8, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

PurposeIn this study, the authors aimed to determine whether children with dyslexia (hereafter referred to as “DYS children”) are more affected than children with average reading ability (hereafter referred to as “AR children”) by talker and intonation variability when perceiving speech in noise.

MethodThirty-four DYS and 25 AR children were tested on their perception of consonants in naturally produced CV tokens in multitalker babble. Twelve CVs were presented for identification in four conditions varying in the degree of talker and intonation variability. Consonant place (/bi/-/di/) and voicing (/bi/-/pi/) discrimination were investigated with the same conditions.

ResultsDYS children made slightly more identification errors than AR children but only for conditions with variable intonation. Errors were more frequent for a subset of consonants, generally weakly encoded for AR children, for tokens with intonation patterns (steady and rise-fall) that occur infrequently in connected discourse. In discrimination tasks, which have a greater memory and cognitive load, DYS children scored lower than AR children across all conditions.

ConclusionsUnusual intonation patterns had a disproportionate (but small) effect on consonant intelligibility in noise for DYS children, but adding talker variability did not. DYS children do not appear to have a general problem in perceiving speech in degraded conditions, which makes it unlikely that they lack robust phonological representations.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Wellcome Trust Grant 076499/Z/05/Z. We thank Mike Coleman, who designed the testing software used in this study; Steve Nevard for technical support; Johannes Ziegler, who kindly provided the data of Ziegler et al. (2009)  for us to reanalyze; and Howard Nusbaum for enlightening comments on the role of pitch variations in speech. We would like to thank the participants and their families for their help, as well as the following schools and their staff: Ellesmere College, Northease Manor School, Abingdon House School, Hazlegrove Preparatory School, Hurst Lodge, Mayville High School, Prior Park College, Trinity School, Sidcot School, Appleford School, Knowl Hill School, Calder House School, Edington & Shapwick School, Thomas’s, Battersea, St. Christopher’s School, and Riddlesworth Hall School.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access