A four-alternative, forced choice adaptive procedure was used to measure the lowest intensity at which children could identify monosyllabic nouns that had been standardized to be understandable (at comfortable listening levels) to inner city, 3-year-old children. Results showed no age related performance changes when the words were presented against a 12 talker babble or against filtered noise. In quiet, however, performance improved between the ages of 5 and 10 years. Performance of children with learning problems was poorer than performance of children achieving normal school progress, even though clinical measures of auditory sensitivity showed no differences. Results are discussed in terms of “semantic closure” skills of children. © 1979, Acoustical Society of America. All rights reserved.