First Advisor

Doug Martin

Term of Graduation

Winter 1996

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Audiometry, Hearing levels



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vi, 42 pages)


To date there are no acceptable speechreading tests with normative or psychometric data indicating the test is a valid and reliable measure of speechreading assessment. Middlewerd and Plomp (1987) completed a study of speechreading assessment using sentences (auditory-only and auditory-visual) in the presence of background noise. Results revealed speech reception thresholds to be lower in the auditory-visual condition. Montgomery and Demorest (1988) concurred that these results were appealing, but unfortunately not efficient enough to be used clinically.

The purpose of this study was to develop a clinically valid and reliable assessment of speech reading ability, following Middlewerd and Plomp's (1987) framework to achieve this goal. The method of obtaining a valid assessment tool was to define a group of stimuli that can be administered and scored to produce reliable data efficiently. Because spondaic words are accepted as a reliable method of clinically achieving speech reception thresholds, they were chosen to be used as the stimuli in this study to develop an efficient clinical speechreading assessment tool.

Ten subjects were presented with spondaic words in each of two conditions, auditory-only and auditory-visual, in the presence of background noise. The spondee words were randomized for each presentation, to validate the data. A computerized presentation was used so that each subject received the identical input. The computer also produced a performance-intensity function for each spondaic word.

Results revealed an acceptable speech recognition threshold for 18 of the 36 spondee words in the auditory-only condition; 6 words were outside of one standard deviation; and the remaining 12 words did not produce obtainable thresholds. In the auditory-visual condition, all words except one had no obtainable threshold. Although these results invalidated the spondee words as an acceptable stimuli, the study does validate the foundation for further research to study different types of stimuli using this same framework.


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