Acceptance Noise Level: Effects of the Speech Signal, Babble, and Listener Language Purpose The acceptable noise level (ANL) measure has gained much research/clinical interest in recent years. The present study examined how the characteristics of the speech signal and the babble used in the measure may affect the ANL in listeners with different native languages. Method Fifteen English monolingual, 16 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2015
Acceptance Noise Level: Effects of the Speech Signal, Babble, and Listener Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY
  • Gabrielly Azcona
    Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lupe Buten
    Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Lu-Feng Shi: lu.shi@liu.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts
    Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2015
Acceptance Noise Level: Effects of the Speech Signal, Babble, and Listener Language
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 497-508. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0244
History: Received August 30, 2014 , Revised October 20, 2014 , Accepted December 1, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 497-508. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0244
History: Received August 30, 2014; Revised October 20, 2014; Accepted December 1, 2014

Purpose The acceptable noise level (ANL) measure has gained much research/clinical interest in recent years. The present study examined how the characteristics of the speech signal and the babble used in the measure may affect the ANL in listeners with different native languages.

Method Fifteen English monolingual, 16 Russian–English bilingual, and 24 Spanish–English bilingual listeners participated. The ANL was obtained in eight conditions varying in the language of the signal (English and Spanish), language of the babble (English and Spanish), and number of talkers in the babble (4 and 12). Test conditions were randomized across listeners. The ANL for each condition was based on a minimum of two trials.

Results Russian–English bilinguals yielded higher ANLs than other listeners; the intergroup difference of 4–5 dB was statistically and clinically significant. Spanish signals yielded significantly higher ANLs than English signals, but this difference of 0.5 dB was clinically negligible. The language and composition of the babble had a significant effect on Russian–English bilinguals, who yielded higher ANLs with the Spanish than English 12-talker babble.

Conclusion The above findings do not fully support the notion that the ANL is language- and population-independent. Clinicians should be aware of possible effects on ANL measures due to listeners' linguistic/cultural background.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank all the participants in this study. They are indebted to Dr. Sylvia Yúdice Walters for her generous help, without which the study would not have been realized. They are also thankful to Dr. William Carver for providing the Spanish maskers at a reduced rate. Keren Zahavi is acknowledged for her assistance in processing part of the stimuli. This work was partial fulfillment for the second author's Master of Science degree. Portions of the work were presented at the 167th Acoustical Society of America meeting in Providence, RI, May 5–9, 2014.
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