Disorders of Speech and Hearing

general article writing


Audiovisual Speech Perception in Children

With Developmental Language Disorder

in Degraded Listening Conditions

Auli Meronen,a,b Kaisa Tiippana,c Jari Westerholm,a and Timo Ahonend

Purpose: The effect of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) on the

perception of audiovisual speech in children with and without

developmental language disorder (DLD) was investigated by varying

the noise level and the sound intensity of acoustic speech. The main

hypotheses were that the McGurk effect (in which incongruent

visual speech alters the auditory speech percept) would be weaker

for children with DLD than for controls and that it would get

stronger with decreasing SNR in both groups.

Method: The participants were 8-year-old children with DLD and

a sample of children with normal language development. In the

McGurk stimuli, the consonant uttered by the voice differed from

that articulated by the face. Three sound intensities (24, 36, and

48 dB) and noise levels (–12, 0, and +6 dB) were used. Perception

of unisensory visual speech was also measured.

Results: The children with DLD experienced a weak McGurk effect,

that is, a weak influence of visual speech on audiovisual speech

perception, which remained rather constant across SNR levels. The

children with DLD were inaccurate at lipreading.

Conclusions: Children with DLD have problems in perceiving spoken

consonants presented audiovisually and visually. The weaker

McGurk effect could be accounted for by the poorer lipreading

ability of children with DLD.

Key Words: developmental language disorders, audiovisual

speech perception, McGurk effect, specific language impairment,

speech perception

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