Intelligibility of British- and American-Accented Sentences for American Younger and Older Listeners with and without Hearing LossFunding This work was supported in part by NIH grant R01DC012315 to E.J.H.
Background Older adults with hearing loss often report difficulty understanding British-accented speech, such as in television or movies, after having understood such speech in the past. A few studies have examined the intelligibility of various United States regional and non-U.S. varieties of English for American listeners, but only for young adults with normal hearing.
Purpose This preliminary study sought to determine whether British-accented sentences were less intelligible than American-accented sentences for American younger and older adults with normal hearing and for older adults with hearing loss.
Research Design A mixed-effects design, with talker accent and listening condition as within-subjects factors and listener group as a between-subjects factor.
Study Sample Three listener groups consisting of 16 young adults with normal hearing, 15 older adults with essentially normal hearing, and 22 older adults with sloping sensorineural hearing loss.
Data Collection and Analysis Sentences produced by one General American English speaker and one British English speaker were presented to listeners at 70 dB sound pressure level in quiet and in babble. Signal-to-noise ratios for the latter varied among the listener groups. Responses were typed into a textbox and saved on each trial. Effects of accent, listening condition, and listener group were assessed using linear mixed-effects models.
Results American- and British-accented sentences were equally intelligible in quiet, but intelligibility in noise was lower for British-accented sentences than American-accented sentences. These intelligibility differences were similar for all three groups.
Conclusion British-accented sentences were less intelligible than those produced by an American talker, but only in noise.
Portions of these data were presented at the 171st meeting of the Acoustical Society of America Conference in Salt Lake City in May 2016.
Received: 18 July 2019
Accepted: 03 May 2020
15 December 2020 (online)
© 2020. American Academy of Audiology. This article is published by Thieme.
Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
333 Seventh Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA
- 1 Dubno JR, Dirks DD, Morgan DE. Effects of age and mild hearing loss on speech recognition in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 1984; 76 (01) 87-96
- 2 Nielsen, The total audience report: Q1. 2017 . Accessed September 14, 2020 at: www.nielsen.com
- 3 Hasan SS, Chipara O, Wu Y-H, Aksan N. Evaluating auditory contexts and their impacts on hearing aid outcomes with mobile phones. Pervasive Health '14: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Health Care. 2014: 126-133
- 4 Sharifian F. English as an International Language: Perspectives and Pedagogical Issues. Bristol: Multilingual Matters; 2009
- 5 Ferguson SH, Jongman A, Sereno JA, Keum KA. Intelligibility of foreign-accented speech for older adults with and without hearing loss. J Am Acad Audiol 2010; 21 (03) 153-162
- 6 Gordon-Salant S, Yeni-Komshian GH, Fitzgibbons PJ. Recognition of accented English in quiet and noise by younger and older listeners. J Acoust Soc Am 2010; 128 (05) 3152-3160
- 7 Bent T, Atagi E, Akbik A, Bonifield E. Classification of regional dialects, international dialects, and nonnative accents. J Phonetics 2016; a 58: 104-117
- 8 Bent T, Baese-Berk M, Borrie SA, McKee M. Individual differences in the perception of regional, nonnative, and disordered speech varieties. J Acoust Soc Am 2016; b 140 (05) 3775-3786
- 9 Clopper CG, Bradlow AR. Perception of dialect variation in noise: intelligibility and classification. Lang Speech 2008; 51 (Pt 3): 175-198
- 10 Jacewicz E, Fox RA. The effects of dialect variation on speech intelligibility in a multitalker background. Appl Psycholinguist 2015; 36: 729-746
- 11 McCloy DR, Wright RA, Souza PE. Talker versus dialect effects on speech intelligibility: a symmetrical study. Lang Speech 2015; 58 (Pt 3): 371-386
- 12 Gordon-Salant S, Fitzgibbons PJ. Comparing recognition of distorted speech using an equivalent signal-to-noise ratio index. J Speech Hear Res 1995; 38 (03) 706-713
- 13 Wingfield A, McCoy SL, Peelle JE, Tun PA, Cox LC. Effects of adult aging and hearing loss on comprehension of rapid speech varying in syntactic complexity. J Am Acad Audiol 2006; 17 (07) 487-497
- 14 Gordon-Salant S, Yeni-Komshian GH, Fitzgibbons PJ, Cohen JI. Effects of age and hearing loss on recognition of unaccented and accented multisyllabic words. J Acoust Soc Am 2015; 137 (02) 884-897
- 15 Gordon-Salant S, Yeni-Komshian GH, Fitzgibbons PJ, Cohen JI, Waldroup C. Recognition of accented and unaccented speech in different maskers by younger and older listeners. J Acoust Soc Am 2013; 134 (01) 618-627
- 16 Rönnberg J, Rudner M, Foo C, Lunner T. Cognition counts: a working memory system for Ease of Language Understanding (ELU). Int J Audiol 2008; 47 (Suppl. 02) S99-S105
- 17 Calandruccio L, Smiljanić R. New sentence recognition materials developed using a basic non-native English lexicon. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2012; 55 (05) 1342-1355
- 18 Pinet M, Gan Y, Evans B, Iverson P. Intelligibility of British English accents in noise for second-language learners. Proceedings of ICPhS. 2015
- 19 Kalikow DN, Stevens KN, Elliott LL. Development of a test of speech intelligibility in noise using sentence materials with controlled word predictability. J Acoust Soc Am 1977; 61 (05) 1337-1351
- 20 Studebaker GA. A “rationalized” arcsine transform. J Speech Hear Res 1985; 28 (03) 455-462