The clear-speech benefit for school-age children: Speech-in-noise and speech-in-speech recognition

Lauren Calandruccio, Heather L. Porter, Lori J. Leibold, Emily Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Talkers often modify their speech when communicating with individuals who struggle to understand speech, such as listeners with hearing loss. This study evaluated the benefit of clear speech in school-age children and adults with normal hearing for speech-in-noise and speech-in-speech recognition. Method: Masked sentence recognition thresholds were estimated for school-age children and adults using an adaptive procedure. In Experiment 1, the target and masker were summed and presented over a loudspeaker located directly in front of the listener. The masker was either speech-shaped noise or two-talker speech, and target sentences were produced using a clear or conversational speaking style. In Experiment 2, stimuli were presented over headphones. The two-talker speech masker was diotic (M0). Clear and conversational target sentences were presented either in-phase (T0) or out-of-phase (Tπ) between the two ears. The M0Tπ condition introduces a segregation cue that was expected to improve performance. Results: For speech presented over a single loudspeaker (Experiment 1), the clear-speech benefit was independent of age for the noise masker, but it increased with age for the two-talker masker. Similar age effects for the two-talker speech masker were seen under headphones with diotic presentation (M0T0), but comparable clear-speech benefit as a function of age was observed with a binaural cue to facilitate segregation (M0Tπ). Conclusions: Consistent with prior research, children showed a robust clear-speech benefit for speech-in-noise recognition. Immaturity in the ability to segregate target from masker speech may limit young children’s ability to benefit from clear-speech modifications for speech-inspeech recognition under some conditions. When provided with a cue that facilitates segregation, children as young as 4–7 years of age derived a clear-speech benefit in a twotalker masker that was similar to the benefit experienced by adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4265-4276
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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