The Intelligibility Effects of a Typical Speech Error of the Hearing Impaired: A Comparison between Common Consonant Omissions
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Purpose: This investigation sought to determine the intelligibility effects of final consonant deletion independently of other hearing impaired speech characteristics. It also sought to identify the effect of, syllable length, omitted phoneme and phonemic feature on intelligibility. Method: An audio recording was made of a female speaker producing 45 single words. 36 words were altered to simulate final consonant omission and 9 were unaltered to act as a control group. These words were added to a carrier sentence and played to 20 undergraduate students with no experience of hearing impaired speech who wrote down the word. ANOVA’s were conducted to identify significant differences between intelligibility scores for; words with the final consonant omitted and words that were unaltered; one and two syllable words; individual phonemes and phonemes that were grouped according to phonetic features. Results: There was a significant difference in mean intelligibility between words with the final consonant omitted had unaltered words (p<.001). Words with the final consonant omitted had mean intelligibility scores 42% lower than the words that had been unaltered. A highly significant difference between the mean intelligibility of one- and two-syllable words was also reported (p<.003) and two syllable words were significantly more intelligible than one syllable words (p<0.05). There were no significant differences between the mean intelligibility scores of phonemes (p>.05) or phonetic features (p>.05) and there was high variability amongst listener scores for phonemes and features with ranges of 0-100%. Conclusions: The results provided further evidence for the intelligibility effect of final consonant omission. The finding that two-syllable words had higher intelligibility than one-syllable words has potential clinical implications when introducing new words into the hearing impaired child’s vocabulary. The finding that there were no significant differences between individual phonemes and phonetic features on intelligibility fails to provide much needed evidence for target selection in clinical intervention.
B.Sc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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