Recognizing speech in adverse listening conditions is a significant cognitive, perceptual, and linguistic challenge, especially for children. Prior studies have yielded mixed results on the impact of bilingualism on speech perception in noise. Methodological variations across studies make it difficult to converge on a conclusion regarding the effect of bilingualism on speech-in-noise performance. Moreover, there is a dearth of speech-in-noise evidence for bilingual children who learn two languages simultaneously. The aim of the present study was to examine the extent to which various adverse listening conditions modulate differences in speech-in-noise performance between monolingual and simultaneous bilingual children. To that end, sentence recognition was assessed in twenty-four school-aged children (12 monolinguals; 12 simultaneous bilinguals, age of English acquisition ≤ 3 yrs.). We implemented a comprehensive speech-in-noise battery to examine recognition of English sentences across different modalities (audio-only, audiovisual), masker types (steady-state pink noise, two-talker babble), and a range of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs; 0 to -16 dB). Results revealed no difference in performance between monolingual and simultaneous bilingual children across each combination of modality, masker, and SNR. Our findings suggest that when English age of acquisition and socioeconomic status is similar between groups, monolingual and bilingual children exhibit comparable speech-in-noise performance across a range of conditions analogous to everyday listening environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)