University of Oulu

Eija Aalto, Katri Saaristo-Helin & Suvi Stolt (2023) Auditory Word Recognition Ability in Babble Noise and Phonological Development in Children at 3;6 Years of Age, Language Learning and Development, 19:2, 230-247, DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2022.2060833

Auditory word recognition ability in babble noise and phonological development in children at 3;6 years of age

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Author: Aalto, Eija1; Saaristo-Helin, Katri2; Stolt, Suvi2
Organizations: 1Logopedics, University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-02-02


Background noise challenges auditory recognition of speech and may reveal the underlying deficits in auditory word recognition skills. Previous studies have reported an association between children’s auditory skills and various linguistic skills, including phonology, although in some languages only. However, language-specific features influence these connections. This study describes the associations between auditory word recognition ability and phonological skills in a representative group of 3;6-year-old children in less studied language, Finnish (N = 65). Auditory recognition was assessed using a closed-set word recognition task presented in multi-talker babble noise (+13 dB) and the phonological skills using Finnish Phonology Test. A significant, moderate correlation was found between Finnish-speaking children’s auditory word recognition and phonological skills. The late-developing phoneme /r/ challenged word recognition. The sibilant /s/ was noted to be the most noise resistant consonant, and the phoneme pair /r/ and /l/ created the most mutual confusion. The accuracy of phonological representations may be a moderating factor for both auditory recognition and phonological skills. Children with strong phonological skills may recognize spoken words more accurately in noisy everyday situations than children with weaker phonological skills. This should be taken into consideration in children’s daily environments, such as daycare centers and preschools.

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Series: Language learning and development
ISSN: 1547-5441
ISSN-E: 1547-3341
ISSN-L: 1547-5441
Volume: 19
Issue: 2
Pages: 230 - 247
DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2022.2060833
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.