DOI: 10.1097/aud.0000000000001480 ISSN: 1538-4667

Development of the Children’s English and Spanish Speech Recognition Test: Psychometric Properties, Feasibility, Reliability, and Normative Data

Lori J. Leibold, Emily Buss, Margaret K. Miller, Tiana Cowan, Ryan W. McCreery, Jacob Oleson, Barbara Rodriguez, Lauren Calandruccio
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Otorhinolaryngology


The Children’s English and Spanish Speech Recognition (ChEgSS) test is a computer-based tool for assessing closed-set word recognition in English and in Spanish, with a masker that is either speech-shaped noise or competing speech. The present study was conducted to (1) characterize the psychometric properties of the ChEgSS test, (2) evaluate feasibility and reliability for a large cohort of Spanish/English bilingual children with normal hearing, and (3) establish normative data.


Three experiments were conducted to evaluate speech perception in children (4–17 years) and adults (19–40 years) with normal hearing using the ChEgSS test. In Experiment 1, data were collected from Spanish/English bilingual and English monolingual adults at multiple, fixed signal-to-noise ratios. Psychometric functions were fitted to the word-level data to characterize variability across target words in each language and in each masker condition. In Experiment 2, Spanish/English bilingual adults were tested using an adaptive tracking procedure to evaluate the influence of different target-word normalization approaches on the reliability of estimates of masked-speech recognition thresholds corresponding to 70.7% correct word recognition and to determine the optimal number of reversals needed to obtain reliable estimates. In Experiment 3, Spanish/English bilingual and English monolingual children completed speech perception testing using the ChEgSS test to (1) characterize feasibility across age and language group, (2) evaluate test-retest reliability, and (3) establish normative data.


Experiments 1 and 2 yielded data that are essential for stimulus normalization, optimizing threshold estimation procedures, and interpreting threshold data across test language and masker type. Findings obtained from Spanish/English bilingual and English monolingual children with normal hearing in Experiment 3 support feasibility and demonstrate reliability for use with children as young as 4 years of age. Equivalent results for testing in English and Spanish were observed for Spanish/English bilingual children, contingent on adequate proficiency in the target language. Regression-based threshold norms were established for Spanish/English bilingual and English monolingual children between 4 and 17 years of age.


The present findings indicate the ChEgSS test is appropriate for testing a wide age range of children with normal hearing in either Spanish, English, or both languages. The ChEgSS test is currently being evaluated in a large cohort of patients with hearing loss at pediatric audiology clinics across the United States. Results will be compared with normative data established in the present study and with established clinical measures used to evaluate English- and Spanish-speaking children. Questionnaire data from parents and clinician feedback will be used to further improve test procedures.

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