Speech therapy

Factors affecting speech comprehension

Before discussing communicating strategies and techniques, it is imperative to understand what factors influence individuals’ active participation in daily conversations. In this regard, four factors are notable: speaker, message, environment, and the listener. As we will see later, there are few simplifying techniques to implement regarding each one of the factors.


Perception of the message is influenced by the way of sending the message by the speaker and the communicating behavior. Common problems in daily communication of normal people includecluttering, mixing words, attaching last phoneme of the previous word to first phoneme of the next word, and omitting phonemesto facilitate production. When the speaker chews gum, eats, or covers their mouth while speaking it cause problems in comprehending the message.


The second factor that influences one’s ability to comprehend a message is the message itself. The speaker must not use complicated communication structures. In fact, a message with following features is easier to understand.

·         Simple grammatical structure;

·         Repetition of a key word in a long sentence;

·         Using two sentences instead of long and complicated sentence;

·         Avoiding ambiguous references; and

·         Avoiding using informal and colloquial terms.


The third factor that influences hearing impaired individual’s comprehension of a conversation is environment. It is clear that an individual with hearing loss has problem understanding a dialogue in dark room where a music is played. Majority ofhearing impaired individuals have problem understanding a conversation in presence of noise especially when they cannot see the speakers’ face for speech reading. Environment with following features are recommended for the hearing impaired:

·         Calm environment with no background noise;

·         Properly lighted, no direct light to the eyes;

·         Proper distance from the speaker;

·         No distractor; and

·         Proper angle with the speaker.

The receiver (hearing impaired)

The Last but not the least factor in recognizing a message is the receiver. Needless to say, a mild hearing impaired is much better than an acute hearing impaired in comprehending a conversation. In addition, a hearing impaired who has visual problem and uses glasses and hearing aid is better in understanding a conversation comparing with a hearing impaired whose visual problem is not solved. People who concentrate well have more chance to comprehend a message; the higher the concentration, the better the comprehension of message. For instance, the hearing impaired might be anxious or nervous during the conversation and tell themselves: “he probably thinks I don’t understand a bit of his words, he may think I’m stupid and not interested.” The mere presence of these thoughts distracts the listener from the main message.