Can Children Substitute for Adult Listeners in Judging the Intelligibility of the Speech of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing? Purpose Assessments of the intelligibility of speech produced by children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) provide unique insights into functional speaking ability, readiness for mainstream classroom placements, and intervention effectiveness. The development of sentence lists for a wide age range of children and the advent of handheld ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2015
Can Children Substitute for Adult Listeners in Judging the Intelligibility of the Speech of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diana True Kloiber
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • David J. Ertmer
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to David J. Ertmer: dertmer@purdue.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Amy Glaspey
    Associate Editor: Amy Glaspey×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2015
Can Children Substitute for Adult Listeners in Judging the Intelligibility of the Speech of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2015, Vol. 46, 56-63. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0043
History: Received May 24, 2013 , Revised March 31, 2014 , Accepted September 22, 2014
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2015, Vol. 46, 56-63. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0043
History: Received May 24, 2013; Revised March 31, 2014; Accepted September 22, 2014

Purpose Assessments of the intelligibility of speech produced by children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) provide unique insights into functional speaking ability, readiness for mainstream classroom placements, and intervention effectiveness. The development of sentence lists for a wide age range of children and the advent of handheld digital recording devices have overcome two barriers to routine use of this tool. Yet, difficulties in recruiting adequate numbers of adults to judge speech samples continue to make routine assessment impractical. In response to this barrier, it has been proposed that children who are 9 years or older might be adequate substitutes for adult listener-judges (Ertmer, 2011).

Method To examine this possibility, 22 children from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades identified words from speech samples previously judged by adults.

Results Children in the 3rd and 4th grades identified fewer words than adults, whereas scores for 5th graders were not significantly different from those of the adults. All grade levels showed increasing scores across low, mid, and high levels of intelligibility.

Conclusions Children who are functioning at a 5th grade level or higher can act as listener-judges in speech intelligibility assessments. Suggestions for implementing assessments and scoring child-listeners' written responses are discussed.

Acknowledgments
Collection of children's speech samples and the adult listener intelligibility measures were supported by National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC-00786, awarded to David J. Ertmer. Thanks to Alexander Francis and Xin Luo for their assistance in the development of this project. Katie Connell-Kirleis helped with data collection and analysis. Special thanks are offered to Bruce Craig and Denise Bradford for providing statistical consulting. Finally, we are indebted to School Principal Randy Strakis, the children who participated in the study, and their teachers.
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