Linguistic Context Effects in the Speech Perfection of Malay-speaking Normal Hearing Young Adults



The study examined the use of linguistic contextual cues among native, Malay-speaking normal hearing young adults. Ten undergraduate students of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia participated in the study. All subjects had normal hearing with the average hearing threshold levels for the overall left and the right ears of 7.8 dB (SD 4.1). The Malay Hearing in Noise Test (MyHINT) materials were employed and presented to the subjects at an approximately 65 dBA presentation level. Testing was conducted in a sound field in three different listening conditions: in quiet, in noise with +5 dB signalto- noise ratio (SNR) and 0 dB SNR. In every test condition, three lists of MyHINT were administered to each subject. The magnitude of context effects was measured using the j factor, which was derived from measurements of recognition probabilities for whole sentences (Pw) and the constituent words in the sentences (Pp) in which j = log Pw / log Pp. Results showed that all subjects scored 100% identification of words in sentences and whole sentences in quiet listening condition, while subjects’ performances in 0 dB SNR were significantly poorer than that in quiet and in +5 dB SNR (p < 0.001). The j-values were significantly correlated with the probability of recognizing words in the sentences (r = 0.515, p = 0.029) in which lower j values were associated with lower Pps. Subjects were not significantly different from each other in their use of contextual cues in adverse listening conditions [F(9,7) = 1.34, p = 0.359]. Using the linear regression function for j on word recognition probabilities, the predicted Pw were calculated. It was found that the predicted and measured probabilities of recognizing whole sentences were highly correlated: r = 0.973, p < 0.001. The results suggested that linguistic contextual information become increasingly important for recognition of sentences by normal hearing young adult listeners as SNR deteriorates.


linguistic context effects, normal hearing listeners, speech perception, hearing in noise

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