This project also is expanding word lists from the traditional monosyllabic words to a greater range of words based on how often they are used and lexical density - the number of words phonetically similar to the target. For example, the word "cat" has a number of lexical neighbors such as "bat," "cap," "cut" and "scat." A word like "banana" may be used frequently but has few words that sound similar.
The 10 diverse speakers, who are recording more than 6,000 sentences combined, will not be producing perfectly articulated speech.
"It's important to use sentence materials that are produced by different speakers because in the real world, we do not listen to just one person," Kirk said.
In addition to the auditory component, the materials will be presented in a visual format so listeners can see and hear the phrase.
"This is really important because hearing-impaired people often have great difficulty understanding speech if they are just listening. Seeing the face and following lip reading cues can help someone understand the intended message," she said.
Participants will be tested in auditory-only, visual-only or auditory plus visual modalities. At the end of the project, DVDs containing the test, as well as instruction booklets, data-gathering forms and a manual for data interpretation, will be available to professionals.
Another benefit from this study will be the raw data generated.
"Just collecting information from 1,000 individuals and measuring how well they perform on these tests gives us tremendous information that is not available elsewhere," Kirk said.
|Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert|