Speech-in-noise perception is linked to rhythm production skills in adult percussionists and non-musicians

Jessica Slater, Nina Kraus*, Kali Woodruff Carr, Adam Tierney, Andrea Azem, Richard Ashley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Speech rhythms guide perception, especially in noise. We recently revealed that percussionists outperform non-musicians in speech-in-noise perception, with better speech-in-noise perception associated with better rhythm discrimination across a range of rhythmic expertise. Here, we consider rhythm production skills, specifically drumming to a beat (metronome or music) and to sequences (metrical or jittered patterns), as well as speech-in-noise perception in adult percussionists and non-musicians. Given the absence of a regular beat in speech, we hypothesise that processing of sequences is more important for speech-in-noise perception than the ability to entrain to a regular beat. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that the sequence-based drumming measures predict speech-in-noise perception, above and beyond hearing thresholds and IQ, whereas the beat-based measures do not. Outcomes suggest temporal patterns may help disambiguate speech under degraded listening conditions, extending theoretical considerations about speech rhythm to the everyday challenge of listening in noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-717
Number of pages8
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Speech perception
  • music
  • rhythm
  • temporal processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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