A TEST OF CHILDREN'S ENGLISH/SPANISH SPEECH PERCEPTION IN NOISE OR SPEECH MASKERS

Project: Research projectResearch Project

Description

PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT Over 15% of children in the US are raised in Spanish-speaking homes. However, clinical assessment ofspeech perception in preschoolers and school-age children is generally performed using English materialspresented in quiet, in steady noise, or in multi-talker babble. We know that speech perception scores are betterwhen testing is performed in a listener?s native language. We also know that hearing impairment has a moredetrimental effect on speech perception in a complex masker (e.g., 2-3 streams of speech) than in noise orbabble. Therefore, the typical approach of evaluating Spanish-speaking children?s speech perception, usingEnglish targets and steady noise, is unlikely to provide a full account of functional hearing. The goal of thisproposal is to develop a clinical test for evaluating masked speech perception in English and in Spanish, ineither a complex speech or a steady noise background. The proposed work builds on the feasibility study ofCalandruccio et al. (2014b), which introduced a four-alternative, forced-choice picture-pointing thresholdestimation task that can be administered in either English or Spanish. Target words are disyllabic nounsfamiliar to young children, and maskers are either speech-shaped noise or two-talker speech. The recordedinstructions and picture-pointing response means the tester need not be fluent in the test language. The four-alternative format also accommodates assessment of children with poor speech production. Aim 1 will refinethe test materials and procedures, including optimization of threshold estimation parameters andimplementation of software for a clinical setting. Aim 2 will establish test reliability and validity across listenerage and hearing status. Threshold norms and estimates of psychometric function slopes will be obtained for 4-to 12-year-olds, including both Spanish/English bilingual and monolingual English speakers. Performance ofchildren with hearing loss, including hearing aid and cochlear implant users, will be evaluated relative toestimates of functional performance in real-life listening situations. Aim 3 will evaluate the test procedures inseven busy pediatric audiology clinics. Test results will be compared with measures that are currently used toevaluate Spanish- and English-speaking children (e.g., pure-tone thresholds and English-language PBKscores), and with questionnaire data from parents regarding language proficiency and functional hearingability. Clinician feedback will be solicited to further improve test procedures. The research team assembled tocarry out the proposed work includes expertise in basic hearing science, auditory development, clinicalresearch, bilingualism, and the provision of clinical care, ensuring that the final product will be a clinicalinstrument that is both rigorous and practical. The end result is expected to improve our ability to audiologicallyevaluate and manage children who speak English, Spanish or both languages.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date8/10/167/31/21

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health: $658,066.00

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Speech Perception
Noise
Language
Hearing
Hearing Loss
Multilingualism
Audiology
Language Tests
Aptitude
Hearing Aids
Cochlear Implants
Feasibility Studies
Psychometrics
Reproducibility of Results
Software
Parents
Pediatrics
Research