Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date


First Advisor

Antony Joseph, MA., Au.D., Ph.D., ABAC, CCC-A, CPS/A, F-NAP


Auditory discrimination, phonetic training, classroom audio distribution system

Second Advisor

Joseph Smaldino


Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology


The aim of this preliminary study was to examine the effect of two signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) and formal phonetic training on auditory discrimination of just noticeable differences (JND) among consonant vowel (CV) synthetic syllables. Fine-grain auditory discrimination abilities of 16 young-adults with undergraduate studies that included phonetic training and 17 young-adults with no phonetic training were assessed using a same/different discrimination task in a +3 SNR and a +13 SNR listening condition. Subjects listened to pairs of CV contrasts presented in rapid succession and indicated whether the contrastive syllables were the same or different. Results revealed a significant difference in discrimination performance between acoustic conditions, with less discrimination errors made in the more favorable SNR condition. Two conclusions were drawn from this finding. First, it was inferred the use of a classroom audio distribution system, which typically provide a 10 dB relative advantage over unamplified listening conditions, may improve fine-grain auditory discrimination. Second, it was concluded that speech language pathologists who rely upon their perceptual abilities to perform speech sound analysis of speech sound disorders, might benefit in terms of diagnostic accuracy and precision from a SNR of at least 10 dB. Lastly, results revealed a greater than 4% difference in discrimination performance between subject groups in the +13 SNR condition; however, the difference was not statistically significant. Additional studies with larger samples sizes might yield more robust inferential data.