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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01981

Masked speech recognition in school-age children

  • 1Boys Town National Research Hospital, United States
  • 2University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States

Children who are typically developing often struggle to hear and understand speech in the presence of competing background sounds, particularly when the background sounds are also speech. For example, in many cases young school-age children require an additional 5-10 dB signal-to-noise ratio relative to adults to achieve the same word or sentence recognition performance as adults in the presence of two streams of competing speech. Moreover, adult-like performance is not observed until adolescence. Despite ample converging evidence that children are more susceptible to auditory masking than adults, the field lacks a comprehensive model that accounts for the development of masked speech recognition. This review provides a synthesis of the literature on the typical development of masked speech recognition. Age-related changes in the ability to recognize phonemes, words, or sentences in the presence of competing background sounds will be discussed by considering (1) how masking sounds influence the sensory encoding of target speech; (2) differences in the time course of development for speech-in-noise versus speech-in-speech recognition; and (3) the central auditory and cognitive processes required to separate and attend to target speech when multiple people are speaking at the same time.

Keywords: development, Hearing, Children, Speech Perception, masking

Received: 20 Jun 2019; Accepted: 13 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Mary Rudner, Linköping University, Sweden

Reviewed by:

Harvey Dillon, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Ronan McGarrigle, University of York, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Leibold and Buss. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Lori J. Leibold, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, United States,