Master's Theses


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this study was to determine the speech recognition abilities of individuals with hearing loss using multi-talker babble as a competing stimulus. Twenty-six young adults participated, 15 in the normal hearing group (mean age of 21.9 years) and 11 in the hearing loss group (mean age of 22.2 years). The participants with normal hearing (0-20 dB HL) had a high frequency pure tone average (HFPTA) of 5 dB HL in both ears, while the participants in the hearing loss group had an HFPTA of 13 dB HL in the right ear and 25 dB HL in the left ear. There was a significant difference in the hearing level of the two groups. Each group listened to words from an audio file and then repeated the words back to the researchers. Four-person multi-talker babble background noise was presented at signal-to-noise ratios of +15 dB, +5 dB, 0 dB and -5 dB. The results demonstrated that participants with normal hearing and participants with hearing loss had decreased speech recognition scores as the multi-talker babble interfered more with the target words; however, data revealed no statistical difference between the hearing loss group and the normal hearing group. In general, the results suggest that less favorable signal-to-noise ratios will affect an individual’s ability to recognize speech in noise, but mild hearing loss does not affect word recognition to any greater degree. A qualitative analysis of the types of error trends demonstrated that phoneme voicing does not contribute to speech recognition. However, the type of speech errors (e.g., substitutions, omission), the phonemes in error and the manner-of-articulation errors made by the participants increased as background noise interfered more.


Dr. C Britten

Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type



© 2012 Kyle Christensen


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