Speech perception in noise mechanisms

  • Saeid Aarabi Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Farnoush Jarollahi Mail Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Sajed Badfar Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
  • Reza Hoseinabadi Department of Audiology, School of Rehablitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Mohsen Ahadi Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Speech in noise, word in noise training, hearing in noise, speech perception


Background and Aim: It will be discussed about five mechanisms in relation to speech in noise perception; including neural encoding and decoding, centrifugal pathways, pitch perception, asymmetric sampling in time and cognitive skills. These mechanisms are related to each other and each is important to recognize speech in noise. In this article, we have tried to rely on the latest studies to describe the mechanisms as mentioned. In the end, we will refer to word in noise training.
Methods: In this review study, the articles related to speech perception in noise published in Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus and Springer database, were collected and investigated. Keywords include speech in noise and related words.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that mentioned mechanisms have a considerable effect on speech in noise perception. It should be noticed that word in noise training cause these mechanisms to improve by covering some of them.


1. Warrier CM, Johnson KL, Hayes EA, Nicol T, Kraus N. Learning impaired children exhibit timing deficits and training-related improvements in auditory cortical responses to speech in noise. Exp Brain Res. 2004;157(4):431-41.
2. Chermak GD, Musiek FE. Central auditory processing disorders: new perspectives. 1st ed. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc; 1997.
3. Anderson S, Skoe E, Chandrasekaran B, Kraus N. Neural timing is linked to speech perception in noise. T J Neurosci. 2010;30(14):4922-6.
4. Souza PE, Boike KT, Witherell K, Tremblay K. Prediction of speech recognition from audibility in older listeners with hearing loss: effects of age, amplification, and background noise. J Am Acad Audiol. 2007;18(1):54-65. 2007;18(1):54-65.
5. Bogardus ST Jr, Yueh B, Shekelle PG. Screening and management of adult hearing loss in primary care: clinical applications. JAMA. 2003;289(15):1986-90.
6. Gordon-Salant S, Yeni-Komshian GH, Fitzgibbons PJ, Barrett J. Age-related differences in identification and discrimination of temporal cues in speech segments. J Acoust Soc Am. 2006;119(4):2455-66.
7. Strait DL, Parbery-Clark A, O'Connell S, Kraus N. Biological impact of preschool music classes on processing speech in noise. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2013;6:51-60.
8. Bradlow AR, Kraus N, Hayes E. Speaking clearly for children with learning disabilities: sentence perception in noise. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2003;46(1):80-97.
9. Ziegler JC, Pech-Georgel C, George F, Alario FX, Lorenzi C. Deficits in speech perception predict language learning impairment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005;102(39):14110-5.
10. Shield BM, Dockrell JE. The effects of noise on children at school: a review. Building Acoustics. 2003;10(2):97-106.
11. Ná Nábĕlek AK, Pickett JM. Reception of consonants in a classroom as affected by monaural and binaural listening, noise, reverberation, and hearing aids. J Acoust Soc Am. 1974;56(2):628-39.
12. Cunningham J, Nicol T, Zecker SG, Bradlow A, Kraus N. Neurobiologic responses to speech in noise in children with learning problems: deficits and strategies for improvement. Clin Neurophysiol. 2001;112(5):758-67.
13. Tierney A, Parbery-Clark A, Skoe E, Kraus N. Fre¬quency-dependent effects of background noise on subcortical response timing. Hear Res. 2011;282(1-2):145-50.
14. Cunningham J, Nicol T, Zecker S, Kraus N. Speech-evoked neurophysiologic responses in children with learning problems: development and behavioral corre¬lates of perception. Ear Hear. 2000;21(6):554-68.
15. Wible B, Nicol T, Kraus N. Abnormal neural encoding of repeated speech stimuli in noise in children with learning problems. Clin Neurophysiol. 2002;113(4):485-94.
16. Anderson S, Skoe E, Chandrasekaran B, Zecker S, Kraus N. Brainstem correlates of speech-in-noise perception in children. Hear Res. 2010;270(1-2):151-7.
17. Ponton CW, Eggermont JJ, Kwong B, Don M. Maturation of human central auditory system activity: evidence from multi-channel evoked potentials. Clin Neurophysiol. 2000;111(2):220-36.
18. Ceponiene R, Alku P, Westerfield M, Torki M, Townsend J. ERPs differentiate syllable and nonphonetic sound processing in children and adults. Psycho¬physiology. 2005;42(4):391-406.
19. Anderson S, Chandrasekaran B, Yi HG, Kraus N. Cortical-evoked potentials reflect speech-in-noise perception in children. Eur J Neurosci. 2010;32(8):1407-13.
20. Stickney GS, Assmann PF, Chang J, Zeng FG. Effects of cochlear implant processing and fundamental frequ¬ency on the intelligibility of competing sentences. J Acoust Soc Am. 2007;122(2):1069-78.
21. Summers V, Leek MR. F0 processing and the separation of competing speech signals by listeners with normal hearing and with hearing loss. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1998;41(6):1294-306.
22. Assmann P, Summerfield Q. The perception of speech under adverse conditions. In: Greenberg S, Ainsworth WA, editors. Speech processing in the auditory system: an overview.1st ed. New York: Springer; 2004. p. 231-308.
23. Baumann O, Belin P. Perceptual scaling of voice identity: common dimensions for different vowels and speakers. Psychol Res. 2010;74(1):110-20.
24. Song JH, Skoe E, Banai K, Kraus N. Perception of speech in noise: neural correlates. J Cogn Neurosci. 2011;23(9):2268-79.
25. Poeppel D. The analysis of speech in different temporal integration windows: cerebral lateralization as ‘asymmetric sampling in time’. Speech Commun. 2003;41(1):245-55.
26. Abrams DA, Nicol T, Zecker S, Kraus N. Right-hemisphere auditory cortex is dominant for coding syllable patterns in speech. J Neurosci. 2008;28(15):3958-65.
27. Belin P, Zilbovicius M, Crozier S, Thivard L, Fontaine A, Masure MC, et al. Lateralization of speech and auditory temporal processing. J Cogn Neurosci. 1998;10(4):536-40.
28. Thompson EC, Woodruff Carr K, White-Schwoch T, Tierney A, Nicol T, Kraus N. Hemispheric asymmetry of endogenous neural oscillations in young children: implications for hearing speech in noise. Sci Rep. 2016;6:19737.
29. Whitfield IC. The auditory pathway. 1st ed. London: Edward Arnold; 1967.
30. Rasmussen GL. The olivary peduncle and other fiber projections of the superior olivary complex. J Comp
Neurol. 1946;84:141-219.
31. Pickles JO. An introduction to the physiology of hearing: 4th ed. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited; 2012.
32. Winslow RL, Sachs MB. Effect of electrical stimulation of the crossed olivocochlear bundle on auditory nerve response to tones in noise. J Neurophysiol. 1987;57(4):1002-21.
33. Kim S, Frisina RD, Frisina DR. Effects of age on speech understanding in normal hearing listeners: relationship between the auditory efferent system and speech intelligibility in noise. Speech Commun. 2006;48(7):855-62.
34. Pickles JO, Comis SD. Role of centrifugal pathways to cochlear nucleus in detection of signals in noise. J Neurophysiol. 1973;36(6):1131-7.
35. Arlinger S, Lunner T, Lyxell B, Pichora-Fuller MK. The emergence of cognitive hearing science. Scand J Psychol. 2009;50(5):371-84.
36. Wong PC, Jin JX, Gunasekera GM, Abel R, Lee ER, Dhar S. Aging and cortical mechanisms of speech perception in noise. Neuropsychologia. 2009;47(3):693-703.
37. Strait DL, Kraus N. Can you hear me now? Musical training shapes functional brain networks for selective auditory attention and hearing speech in noise. Front Psychol. 2011;2:113.
38. Obleser J, Wise RJ, Dresner MA, Scott SK. Functional integration across brain regions improves speech perception under adverse listening conditions. J Neurosci. 2007;27(9):2283-9.
39. Tun PA, O'Kane G, Wingfield A. Distraction by competing speech in young and older adult listeners. Psychol Aging. 2002;17(3):453-67.
40. Frisina DR, Frisina RD. Speech recognition in noise and presbycusis: relations to possible neural mechanisms. Hear Res. 1997;106(1-2):95-104.
41. Edeline JM. The thalamo-cortical auditory receptive fields: regulation by the states of vigilance, learning and the neuromodulatory systems. Exp Brain Res. 2003;153(4):554-72.
42. Ferre J. The M3 model for treating CAPD. Masters M, Stecker N, Katz J, editors. Central auditory processing disorders: mostly management.1st ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon; 1998. p. 103-15.
43. Geffner D, Ross-Swain D. Auditory processing disorders: assessment, management and treatment. 2nd ed. Plural publishing; 2012.
44. Katz J. APD evaluation to therapy: The Buffalo Model. 2007. Available at: http://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/apd-valuation-to-therapy-buffalo-945. November: 25.2016.
45. Kraus N, Chandrasekaran B. Music training for the development of auditory skills. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010;11(8):599-605.
46. Maggu AR, Yathiraj A. Effect of noise desensitization training on children with poor speech-in-noise scores. Can. J. Speech Lang. Pathol. Audiol. 2011;35(1):56-63.
47. Tillery KL. Central Auditory processing assessment and therapeutic strategies for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In: Masters MG, Stecker NA, Katz J, editors. Central auditory processing disorders: mostly management. 1st ed: Boston: Pearson; 1998. p. 200-20.
48. Song JH, Skoe E, Banai K, Kraus N. Training to improve hearing speech in noise: biological mechanisms. Cereb Cortex. 2012;22(5):1180-90.
49. Katz J, Ferre J, Keith W, Alexander A. Central auditory processing disorder: therapy and management. In: Katz J, Chasin M, English K, hood LJ, Tillery KL, editors. Handbook of clinical audiology. 7th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015. p. 561-81.
50. Katz J, Burge C. Auditory perception training for chi¬ldren with learning disabilities. Menorah Med. J. 1971;1(2):18-29.
How to Cite
Aarabi S, Jarollahi F, Badfar S, Hoseinabadi R, Ahadi M. Speech perception in noise mechanisms. Aud Vestib Res. 25(4):221-226.
Review Article(s)