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Effects of bilingualism, noise, and reverberation on speech perception by listeners with normal hearing


This study compared monosyllabic word recognition in quiet, noise, and noise with reverberation for 15 monolingual American English speakers and 12 Spanish–English bilinguals who had learned English prior to 6 years of age and spoke English without a noticeable foreign accent. Significantly poorer word recognition scores were obtained for the bilingual listeners than for the monolingual listeners under conditions of noise and noise with reverberation, but not in quiet. Although bilinguals with little or no foreign accent in their second language are often assumed by their peers, or their clinicians in the case of hearing loss, to be identical in perceptual abilities to monolinguals, the present data suggest that they may have greater difficulty in recognizing words in noisy or reverberant listening environments.

Corresponding author
Catherine L. Rogers, University of South Florida, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, PCD 1017, Tampa, FL 33620. E-mail:
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Applied Psycholinguistics
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  • EISSN: 1469-1817
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