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 hypotheses, 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.