Comprehension of Degraded Speech Matures During Adolescence Purpose The aim of the study was to compare comprehension of spectrally degraded (noise-vocoded [NV]) speech and perceptual learning of NV speech between adolescents and young adults and examine the role of phonological processing and executive functions in this perception. Method Sixteen younger adolescents (11–13 years), 16 older ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 17, 2018
Comprehension of Degraded Speech Matures During Adolescence
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julia Jones Huyck
    Speech Pathology and Audiology Program, Kent State University, OH
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Julia Jones Huyck: jhuyck@kent.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Gallun×
  • Editor: Steve Aiken
    Editor: Steve Aiken×
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 17, 2018
Comprehension of Degraded Speech Matures During Adolescence
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 1012-1022. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0252
History: Received June 29, 2017 , Revised December 8, 2017 , Accepted January 12, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 1012-1022. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0252
History: Received June 29, 2017; Revised December 8, 2017; Accepted January 12, 2018
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose The aim of the study was to compare comprehension of spectrally degraded (noise-vocoded [NV]) speech and perceptual learning of NV speech between adolescents and young adults and examine the role of phonological processing and executive functions in this perception.

Method Sixteen younger adolescents (11–13 years), 16 older adolescents (14–16 years), and 16 young adults (18–22 years) listened to 40 NV sentences and repeated back what they heard. They also completed tests assessing phonological processing and a variety of executive functions.

Results Word-report scores were generally poorer for younger adolescents than for the older age groups. Phonological processing also predicted initial word-report scores. Learning (i.e., improvement across training times) did not differ with age. Starting performance and processing speed predicted learning, with greater learning for those who started with the lowest scores and those with faster processing speed.

Conclusions Degraded (NV) speech comprehension is not mature even by early adolescence; however, like adults, adolescents are able to improve their comprehension of degraded speech with training. Thus, although adolescents may have initial difficulty in understanding degraded speech or speech as presented through hearing aids or cochlear implants, they are able to improve their perception with experience. Processing speed and phonological processing may play a role in degraded speech comprehension in these age groups.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by the Kent State University Research Council (summer research appointment). I thank Ingrid Johnsrude for providing the sentence corpus. Thanks also to Jennifer Roche, who provided useful comments on the article. B. Baird, J. Dirks, R. Eberly, K. Haines, E. Huston, V. Koch, D. Mynchenberg, J. Rogers, K. Seevers, and K. Sharkey helped with data collection, transcription, and scoring.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access