Older adult recognition error patterns when listening to interrupted speech and speech in steady-state noise

Kimberly G. Smith, Daniel Fogerty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined sentence recognition errors made by older adults in degraded listening conditions compared to a previous sample of younger adults. We examined speech recognition errors made by older normal-hearing adults who repeated sentences that were corrupted by steady-state noise (SSN) or periodically interrupted by noise to preserve 33%, 50%, or 66% of the sentence. Responses were transcribed and coded for the number and type of keyword errors. Errors increased with decreasing preservation of the sentence. Similar sentence recognition was observed between SSN and the greatest amount of interruption (33%). Errors were predominately at the word level rather than at the phoneme level and consisted of omission or substitution of keywords. Compared to younger listeners, older listeners made more total errors and omitted more whole words when speech was highly degraded. They also made more whole word substitutions when speech was more preserved. In addition, the semantic relatedness of the substitution errors to the sentence context varied according to the distortion condition, with greater context effects in SSN than interruption. Overall, older listeners made errors reflecting poorer speech representations. Error analyses provide a more detailed account of speech recognition by identifying changes in the type of errors made across listening conditions and listener groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3428-3434
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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