Having a large receptive vocabulary benefits speech-in-noise recognition for young children, though this is not always the case for older children or adults. These observations could indicate that effects of receptive vocabulary size on speech-in-noise recognition differ depending on familiarity of the target words, with effects observed only for more recently acquired and less frequent words. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate effects of vocabulary size on open-set speech-in-noise recognition for adults with normal hearing. Targets were words acquired at 4, 9, 12 and 15 years of age, and they were presented at signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of -5 and -7 dB. Percent correct scores tended to fall with increasing age of acquisition (AoA), with the caveat that performance at -7 dB SNR was better for words acquired at 9 years of age than earlier- or later-acquired words. Similar results were obtained whether the AoA of the target words was blocked or mixed across trials. Differences in word duration appear to account for nonmonotonic effects of AoA. For all conditions, a positive correlation was observed between recognition and vocabulary size irrespective of target word AoA, indicating that effects of vocabulary size are not limited to recently acquired words. This dataset does not support differential assessment of AoA, lexical frequency, and other stimulus features known to affect lexical access.
ASJC Scopus subject areas