Development of Materials for the Clinical Assessment of Speech Recognition: The Speech Sound Pattern Discrimination Test

Bochner, Joseph H.; Garrison, Wayne M.; Sussman, Joan E.; Burkard, Robert F.
August 2003
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2003, Vol. 46 Issue 4, p889
Academic Journal
The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the validity and reliability of materials designed for an assessment procedure capable of making meaningful distinctions in speech recognition ability among individuals having mild-to moderate hearing losses. Sets of phonetic contrasts were presented within sentence contexts to 53 listeners (22 normal hearing, 31 hearing impaired) in 4 listening conditions (quiet and with background competition at signal-to-noise ratios of +5, 0, and -5 dB). The listeners were asked to discriminate pairs of sentences (e.g., "The man hid the dog" and "The man hit the dog") using same different judgments. Their performances were analyzed in a manner enabling comparisons among items in terms of the classification of phonetic contrasts. Listener performance was also compared to performance on a set of independent variables, including the W-22 and QuickSIN speech tests, high-frequency hearing loss, speech reception threshold, listener age, and others. Results indicated that the new materials distinguished the normal-hearing from the hearing-impaired group and that listener performance (a) declined about 17% for each 5 dB decrement in SNR and (b) was influenced by the phonetic content of items in a manner similar to that reported by G. A. Miller and P. E. Nicely (1955). The performances of the hearing-impaired listeners were much more strongly related to high-frequency hearing loss, listener age, and other variables than were their performances on either the W-22 or QuickSIN tests. These findings are discussed with specific reference to the use of a mathematical model (i.e., the Rasch model for person measurement) for scaling items along a continuum of difficulty. The mathematical model and associated item difficulty values will serve as the basis for construction of a clinically useful computerized, adaptive test of speech recognition ability known as the Speech Sound Pattern Discrimination Test (Bochner, J., Garrison, W., Palmer, L...


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