J Am Acad Audiol 2020; 31(07): 521-530
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.19029
Research Article

Effect of Competition, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Race, and Sex on Southern American English Dialect Talkers' Sentence Recognition

Andrew Stuart
1  East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Yolanda F. Holt
1  East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Alyssa N. Kerls
1  East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Madeline R. Smith
1  East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
› Author Affiliations


Background Although numerous studies have examined regional and racial–ethnic labeling of talker identity, few have evaluated speech perception skills of listeners from the southern United States.

Purpose The objective of the study was to examine the effect of competition, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), race, and sex on sentence recognition performance in talkers from the Southern American English dialect region.

Research Design A four-factor mixed-measures design was used.

Study Sample Forty-eight normal-hearing young African American and White adults participated.

Data Collection and Analyses The Perceptually Robust English Sentence Test Open-set was used in quiet and in continuous and interrupted noise and multitalker babble at SNRs of −10, −5, 0, and 5 dB.

Results Significant main effects of competition (p < 0.001) and SNR (p < 0.001) and a competition by SNR interaction were found (p < 0.001). Performance improved with increasing SNRs. Performance was also greater in the interrupted broadband noise at poorer SNRs, relative to the other competitors. Multitalker babble performance was significantly poorer than the continuous noise at the poorer SNRs. There was no effect of race or sex on performance in quiet or competition.

Conclusions Although African American English and White American English talkers living in the same geographic region demonstrate differences in speech production, their speech perception in noise does not appear to differ under the conditions examined in this study.


This work was presented in part at the 2018 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention, Boston, MA.

Publication History

Publication Date:
02 September 2020 (online)

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