Performance of Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers of English and Spanish on the Synthetic Sentence Identification Test Differences in the performance of adults with normal hearing were evaluated on the English and Spanish versions of the Synthetic Sentence Identification (SSI) test in the ipsilateral competing message (ICM) format. Previous work has shown that bilingual subjects perform significantly better on the Spanish version of the SSI at a ... Short Course
Short Course  |   November 01, 1997
Performance of Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers of English and Spanish on the Synthetic Sentence Identification Test
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan M. Lopez
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, Lopez, 6169 NW 170 Terrace, Miami, FL 33015-4603
  • Frederick N. Martin
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Linda M. Thibodeau
    University of Texas at Dallas
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Short Courses
Short Course   |   November 01, 1997
Performance of Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers of English and Spanish on the Synthetic Sentence Identification Test
American Journal of Audiology, November 1997, Vol. 6, 33-38. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0603.33
History: Received December 9, 1996 , Accepted August 4, 1997
 
American Journal of Audiology, November 1997, Vol. 6, 33-38. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0603.33
History: Received December 9, 1996; Accepted August 4, 1997

Differences in the performance of adults with normal hearing were evaluated on the English and Spanish versions of the Synthetic Sentence Identification (SSI) test in the ipsilateral competing message (ICM) format. Previous work has shown that bilingual subjects perform significantly better on the Spanish version of the SSI at a –30 dB message-to-competition ratio (MCR). The previous investigators attributed this difference in performance to the existence of a greater number of pauses in the competing message of the Spanish version compared to the English version.

In the present study, seven bilingual speakers and ten monolingual speakers each of English and Spanish completed two conditions—the standard competing message (SC) and the competing message mixed with speech noise (SC+N)—in order to reduce or eliminate the effect of pauses on performance. Bilingual subjects’ scores in each language were not significantly different from monolingual subjects’ scores. Scores from bilinguals were significantly better in Spanish compared to English—even when speech noise was used to fill in the natural pauses present in the competing message at a –10 dB MCR. It is suggested that this performance difference may be a result of the unequal average number of syllables per stimulus sentence in the English and Spanish versions. However, further research will be needed to explore the impact that different language structures have on SSI performance.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank the Shell Oil Company for their support of this project and Auditec of St. Louis for subsidizing the compact disc recordings used in this research. Special thanks also go to Becky DeBus and George Woodward of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for their statistical consultation services.
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