Examples using take-home / device-based platforms
Take-home tablet-based study on vocabulary and speech-in-noise performance.
The purpose of this study was to understand the role of receptive vocabulary in single-word speech-in-noise performance as a function of SNR and the age of acquisition (AoA) of the target words. Participants were 20 adults ages 20-50 years who had self-reported normal hearing and spoke English natively. Participants completed the study in the comfort of their own home using a lab-owned testing equipment including a tablet, Sennheiser HD 25 – II headphones, an instructions book, and alcohol wipes.
Each participant was consented through REDCap via the desktop version of Webex. While on the Webex call, the experimenter shared her screen with the participant, leading him/her through the forms through REDCap. When it was time for the participant to sign and date the consent form or fill out any additional questions, the experimenter passed over keyboard and mouse control to the participant so he/she could do so.
After all necessary forms were completed, the experimenter scheduled a remote testing kit drop-off time for the participant.
Using the lab-owned tablet and headphones, participants completed two tasks. The order of the tasks was randomized and counterbalanced across participants.
The first task was a tablet version of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fourth Edition (PPVT-4) which resulted in a raw score that was used as an index of receptive vocabulary. In a sound-attenuating room, we recorded a male, native English speaker saying the carrier phrase, “Show me…” and then a vocabulary word. Participants heard the word through the headphones and then selected the picture that best corresponded with that word out of four options.
The second task was a tablet-based program entitled Kuperman Vocabulary Study which was used as a measure of speech-in-noise ability. Participants heard single words recorded by a male, native-English speaker, played in broadband noise at either -5 or -7 dB SNR. Participants were tasked with repeating that word out loud while the tablet program recorded their utterance. Following repetition of the word out loud, the participant also typed the word.
The participant then pressed the “OK” button on the program and the correct stimulus word appeared on the screen. The participant self-scored their guess by clicking either “Correct” or “Incorrect” before moving on to the next word, resulting in a percentage correct for each trial.
The words used in this task were normed for age of acquisition (AoA) by Kuperman and colleagues. From the normed words, we recorded disyllables acquired at 4 years, 9, years, 12 years, and 15 years. The words were played for participants over broadband noise based on the long-term average speech spectrum of the recorded words. Participants heard four lists of 60 words which were balanced based on psycholinguistic analysis and contained and equal number of normed words from each of the four ages of acquisition. Participants completed two lists at -5 dB SNR and two lists at -7 dB SNR. The order of lists and SNRs were randomized for each participant.
Before beginning the task, participants were asked to press the “Adjust Volume” button in the Kuperman Vocabulary Study program which played a passage of speech by the target talker so participants could adjust their volume to a comfortable level. Participants also could click on the “Instructions” button of the program to hear verbal instructions for the task. If during the task itself the participant experienced an interruption while a word was playing (e.g., their dog barking), they could click the “Interrupt” button to indicate this but were still asked to take a guess as for the word he/she heard.
Drop-off and pick-up of materials
The experimenter worked with each participant to arrange a time for contact-free drop-off and pick-up of testing equipment at his/her doorstep. The equipment was sanitized with medical-grade alcohol wipes prior to drop-off and following pick-up. The experimenter wore a mask and gloves during these exchanges with participants.