Phoneme and Word Scoring in Speech-in-Noise Audiometry Purpose Understanding speech in background noise is difficult for many individuals; however, time constraints have limited its inclusion in the clinical audiology assessment battery. Phoneme scoring of words has been suggested as a method of reducing test time and variability. The purposes of this study were to establish a phoneme ... Research Note
Research Note  |   March 01, 2016
Phoneme and Word Scoring in Speech-in-Noise Audiometry
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Curtis J. Billings
    National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, OR
    Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Tina M. Penman
    National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, OR
  • Emily M. Ellis
    National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, OR
  • Lucas S. Baltzell
    National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, OR
  • Garnett P. McMillan
    National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, OR
  • 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 Curtis J. Billings: curtis.billings2@va.gov
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Note
Research Note   |   March 01, 2016
Phoneme and Word Scoring in Speech-in-Noise Audiometry
American Journal of Audiology, March 2016, Vol. 25, 75-83. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0068
History: Received November 5, 2015 , Revised December 23, 2015 , Accepted December 28, 2015
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 2016, Vol. 25, 75-83. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0068
History: Received November 5, 2015; Revised December 23, 2015; Accepted December 28, 2015

Purpose Understanding speech in background noise is difficult for many individuals; however, time constraints have limited its inclusion in the clinical audiology assessment battery. Phoneme scoring of words has been suggested as a method of reducing test time and variability. The purposes of this study were to establish a phoneme scoring rubric and use it in testing phoneme and word perception in noise in older individuals and individuals with hearing impairment.

Method Words were presented to 3 participant groups at 80 dB in speech-shaped noise at 7 signal-to-noise ratios (−10 to 35 dB). Responses were scored for words and phonemes correct.

Results It was not surprising to find that phoneme scores were up to about 30% better than word scores. Word scoring resulted in larger hearing loss effect sizes than phoneme scoring, whereas scoring method did not significantly modify age effect sizes. There were significant effects of hearing loss and some limited effects of age; age effect sizes of about 3 dB and hearing loss effect sizes of more than 10 dB were found.

Conclusion Hearing loss is the major factor affecting word and phoneme recognition with a subtle contribution of age. Phoneme scoring may provide several advantages over word scoring. A set of recommended phoneme scoring guidelines is provided.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by grants to the first author (NIH/NIDCD R03DC10914; VA/RR&D C4844C and C8006W). The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Government. Participants provided informed consent, and research was completed with the approval from the pertinent Institutional Review Boards. Authors' contributions to this study include study design and data collection (EE, LB, TP, and CB), analysis and interpretation of data (GM, CB, and TP), and manuscript preparation (CB, TP, EE, LB, and GM). The authors thank Melissa Papesh, Angela Eilbes, and Paul Pendergraft for their contributions. Portions of these data were presented in 2013 at the AudiologyNow! and the Joint Defense Veterans Audiology Conference.
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