Speech Intelligibility: How clear is your child’s speech?

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Have you ever found it difficult to understand your child’s speech? How they articulate sounds impacts their overall clarity in speech. A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) can help you understand if your child’s speech intelligibility is at an appropriate level for their age.

What is Speech Intelligibility?

Speech intelligibility refers to how well someone can be understood when they’re speaking. The factors that determine someone’s clarity include knowing what sounds to make and how to pronounce them, the rhythm (also known as prosody), the volume, staying on topic, formulating syntax, and more. There’s a lot that goes into our conversations without us even realizing it!

How is it Measured?

There are a variety of methods SLPs use to measure a client’s speech intelligibility. Some use their trained experience to listen and estimate the percentage of speech that can be understood. A more formalized method involves:

1) recording the client saying a list of pre-selected words/sentences

2) providing a second person with a list of similar sounding words

3) the second person will listen to the recordings and select from the list which word they think was being said.

This helps eliminate the bias that family members can have since they hear the client speak every day and might understand them better than a stranger would.

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