Hearing aid noise reduction algorithms and the acquisition of novel speech contrasts by young children
A previous study by the authors concluded that digital noise reduction (DNR) does not have an influence on the acquisition of a second language in adults. On the basis of results from adult subjects, it was inferred that DNR is not likely to influence language acquisition in pre-verbal infants. The present study serves as an update to determine whether the tasks being modeled could be conducted with younger participants of 4-and 5-years of age, and whether similar results would be found. Two groups of normal-hearing, monolingual English-speaking children were presented with noise-embedded Hindi speech contrasts that were difficult to discriminate. One group listened to both speech items and noise processed with DNR while the other group listened to unprocessed speech in noise. To ensure task appropriateness, these results were also compared to measures from a third group composed of Hindi-speaking children of the same age. Results indicated that Hindi-speaking children performed better than English-speaking children, confirming age-appropriateness of the cross-language task, but that DNR did not enhance nor impair the acquisition of novel speech contrasts by young listeners.
from the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology</p