Rating Deaf Speakers’ Comprehensibility An Exploratory Investigation Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   September 01, 1993
Rating Deaf Speakers’ Comprehensibility
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sidney M. Barefoot, MS
    Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology
    Department of Speech and Language, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623–0887
  • Joseph H. Bochner
    Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology
  • Barbara Ann Johnson
    University of Texas—Pan American, Edinburg
  • Beth Ann vom Eigen
    Calvert Hall College, Towson, MD
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   September 01, 1993
Rating Deaf Speakers’ Comprehensibility
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, September 1993, Vol. 2, 31-35. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0203.31
History: Received July 12, 1991 , Accepted May 10, 1993
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, September 1993, Vol. 2, 31-35. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0203.31
History: Received July 12, 1991; Accepted May 10, 1993

The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of a measure of communication efficacy, one that explicitly encompasses features of both speech and language. Toward this end the construct of comprehensibility, which has been used in the field of second-language acquisition, was adapted. Comprehensibility, operationally defined as the extent to which a listener understands utterances produced by a speaker in a communication context, was studied in relation to various dimensions of communication efficacy. Four observers evaluated the comprehensibility of utterances produced by 41 deaf young adults, using a nine-point rating scale. The reliability of the comprehensibility ratings was determined, and the ratings were studied in relation to independent assessments of the subjects’ speech intelligibility, English language proficiency, speech recognition, reading comprehension, and hearing loss. The results of this investigation indicate that comprehensibility can be evaluated reliably and that comprehensibility is associated with both speech intelligibility and language proficiency. The implications of these findings for the clinical assessment of speech and language are discussed.

Acknowledgment
The authors would like to acknowledge that their contributions to this paper were of equal importance. We are grateful to Ed Lichtenstein for his assistance in conducting the data analysis and to Robert Whitehead for his comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.
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