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Journal Article

Age effects on concurrent speech segregation by onset asynchrony


Stuckenberg,  Maria
Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all”, Department of Psychology, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany;
Institute of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany;
International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Stuckenberg, M., Nayak, C. V., Meyer, B. T., Völker, C., Hohmann, V., & Bendixen, A. (2019). Age effects on concurrent speech segregation by onset asynchrony. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(1), 177-189. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-18-0064.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-105D-3
Purpose: For elderly listeners, it is more challenging to listen to 1 voice surrounded by other voices than for young listeners. This could be caused by a reduced ability to use acoustic cues-such as slight differences in onset time-for the segregation of concurrent speech signals. Here, we study whether the ability to benefit from onset asynchrony differs between young (18-33 years) and elderly (55-74 years) listeners. Method: We investigated young (normal hearing, N = 20) and elderly (mildly hearing impaired, N = 26) listeners' ability to segregate 2 vowels with onset asynchronies ranging from 20 to 100 ms. Behavioral measures were complemented by a specific event-related brain potential component, the object-related negativity, indicating the perception of 2 distinct auditory objects. Results: Elderly listeners' behavioral performance (identification accuracy of the 2 vowels) was considerably poorer than young listeners'. However, both age groups showed the same amount of improvement with increasing onset asynchrony. Object-related negativity amplitude also increased similarly in both age groups. Conclusion: Both age groups benefit to a similar extent from onset asynchrony as a cue for concurrent speech segregation during active (behavioral measurement) and during passive (electroencephalographic measurement) listening.