Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Yingjiu Nie, Ph.D.

Ayaskanta Rout, Ph.D.

Rory DePaolis, Ph.D.

Abstract

Using the Sung Speech Corpus (SSC), which encompasses a single database that contains musical pitch, timbre variations and speech information in identification tasks, the current study aimed to explore the development of normal-hearing children’s ability to use the pitch and timbre cues. Thirteen normal hearing children were recruited for the study ages ranging from 7 to 16 years old. Participants were separated into two separate groups: Younger (7-9) and Older (10-16). Musical Experience was taken into account as well. The Angel Sound ™ program was utilized for testing which was adopted from previous studies, most recently Crew, Galvin, and Fu (2015). Participants were asked to identify either pitch contour or a five word sentence while the one not being identified was manipulated in quiet. Each sentence recognition task was also tested at three different SNRs (-3, 0, 3 dB). For sentence recognition in quiet, children with musical training performed better than those without. A significant interaction between Age-Group and Musical Experience was also seen, such that Younger children showed more benefit from musical training than Older, musically trained children. Significant effect of pitch contour on sentence recognition in noise was found showing that naturally produced speech stimuli were easier to identify when competing background noise was introduced for all children than speech stimuli with an unnatural pitch contour. Significant effect of speech timbre on MCI was found which demonstrates that as the timbre complexity increases, the MCI performance decreases. The current study concluded that pitch and timbre cues interfered with each other in child listeners, depending on the listening demands (SNR, tasks, etc.). Music training can improve overall speech and music perception.

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