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Individual differences in older adults' speech-perception performance in noise: Evidence from a speeded-response task

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Janse,  Esther
Individual Differences in Language Processing Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Center for Language Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen;

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Jesse,  Alexandra
Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA);
Language Comprehension Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Janse, E., & Jesse, A. (2011). Individual differences in older adults' speech-perception performance in noise: Evidence from a speeded-response task. Poster presented at The First International Conference on Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication, Linkoping, Sweden.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-05BB-8
Abstract
This study investigated which perceptual and cognitive abilities relate to older adults’ individual differences in speech perception under different listening conditions. Previous research has examined the effects of energetic and informational masking on older adults’ speech perception with non-speeded offline tasks with unlimited processing time. Performance in such tasks could primarily result from post-perceptual processing. Here, we investigated individual differences in a speeded response task, where processing time was limited, to obtain more direct insight into listening effort. We tested 66 older adults with varying degrees of age-related hearing loss in a phoneme-monitoring task, where listeners had to indicate by button press as soon as they heard a “p”. Listeners were instructed to maximize accuracy and response speed. Target speech was presented with no noise, an informational masker (single same-sex competing speaker), or an energetic masker (matched speech-shaped noise). As expected, target detection was overall faster and more accurate in the no-noise condition than in the noise conditions. Target detection was also more accurate in the energetic than in the informational masking condition. Predictors we tested included hearing acuity, temporal processing (gap detection task), attentional abilities (selective attention, attention switching), auditory and visual working memory (auditory nonword repetition, visual digit span backwards), and vocabulary knowledge. We expect selective attention to specifically relate to performance in the informational masking condition. Predictor results and their consequences for theories on cognitive abilities underlying speech perception will be discussed.