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Associations between speech understanding and auditory and visual tests of verbal working memory: effects of linguistic complexity, task, age, and hearing loss.

Smith SL, Pichora-Fuller MK - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: There was a significant group difference and a wider range in performance on LWMS than on RWMS.Notably, there were only few significant correlations among the working memory and speech understanding measures.These findings suggest that working memory measures reflect individual differences that are distinct from those tapped by these measures of speech understanding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Audiologic Rehabilitation Laboratory, Auditory Vestibular Research Enhancement Award Program, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN USA ; Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN USA.

ABSTRACT
Listeners with hearing loss commonly report having difficulty understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments. Their difficulties could be due to auditory and cognitive processing problems. Performance on speech-in-noise tests has been correlated with reading working memory span (RWMS), a measure often chosen to avoid the effects of hearing loss. If the goal is to assess the cognitive consequences of listeners' auditory processing abilities, however, then listening working memory span (LWMS) could be a more informative measure. Some studies have examined the effects of different degrees and types of masking on working memory, but less is known about the demands placed on working memory depending on the linguistic complexity of the target speech or the task used to measure speech understanding in listeners with hearing loss. Compared to RWMS, LWMS measures using different speech targets and maskers may provide a more ecologically valid approach. To examine the contributions of RWMS and LWMS to speech understanding, we administered two working memory measures (a traditional RWMS measure and a new LWMS measure), and a battery of tests varying in the linguistic complexity of the speech materials, the presence of babble masking, and the task. Participants were a group of younger listeners with normal hearing and two groups of older listeners with hearing loss (n = 24 per group). There was a significant group difference and a wider range in performance on LWMS than on RWMS. There was a significant correlation between both working memory measures only for the oldest listeners with hearing loss. Notably, there were only few significant correlations among the working memory and speech understanding measures. These findings suggest that working memory measures reflect individual differences that are distinct from those tapped by these measures of speech understanding.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean audiogram of the test ear for the younger listeners with normal hearing (YN; squares), young-old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL; triangles), and older listeners with hearing loss (OHL; circles). The error bars represent one standard deviation.
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Figure 1: Mean audiogram of the test ear for the younger listeners with normal hearing (YN; squares), young-old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL; triangles), and older listeners with hearing loss (OHL; circles). The error bars represent one standard deviation.

Mentions: Three listener groups participated (n = 24 per group)1. One group consisted of younger adults with normal hearing (YN; mean age = 23.5 years, SD = 2.8, range = 19–29; 7 male) who were recruited from the Johnson City, Tennessee community. The other two groups were older adults with hearing loss and were Veterans recruited from the Mountain Home, Tennessee Veterans Affairs (VAs) Medical Center Audiology clinic. The ‘young–old’ group (YOHL) had a mean age of 66.3 years (SD = 2.0, range = 63–69; 24 male), and the ‘older’ group (OHL) had a mean age of 74.3 years (SD = 3.2, range = 70–80; 24 male). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) confirmed a significant difference in age among the three listener groups, F(2,71) = 2416.4, p < 0.001. The average education level was 15.3 years (SD = 2.1, range = 12–20) for the YN listeners, 14.9 years (SD = 2.7, range = 12–20) for the YOHL listeners, and 13.9 years (SD = 2.5, range = 8–18) for the OHL listeners; a one-way ANOVA indicated no significant group difference in education level (p > 0.05). Figure 1 illustrates the average audiogram of the test ear of the three listener groups (right ear of even-numbered participants and left ear of odd-numbered participants). A repeated-measures ANOVA for audiometric thresholds across frequency of the test ear (within-subjects factor) with hearing loss groups (YOHL and OHL) as between-subjects factors, revealed no significant main effects of group, nor was there a frequency by group interaction (p > 0.05), suggesting similar test-ear audiograms for the YOHL and OHL groups.


Associations between speech understanding and auditory and visual tests of verbal working memory: effects of linguistic complexity, task, age, and hearing loss.

Smith SL, Pichora-Fuller MK - Front Psychol (2015)

Mean audiogram of the test ear for the younger listeners with normal hearing (YN; squares), young-old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL; triangles), and older listeners with hearing loss (OHL; circles). The error bars represent one standard deviation.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4584991&req=5

Figure 1: Mean audiogram of the test ear for the younger listeners with normal hearing (YN; squares), young-old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL; triangles), and older listeners with hearing loss (OHL; circles). The error bars represent one standard deviation.
Mentions: Three listener groups participated (n = 24 per group)1. One group consisted of younger adults with normal hearing (YN; mean age = 23.5 years, SD = 2.8, range = 19–29; 7 male) who were recruited from the Johnson City, Tennessee community. The other two groups were older adults with hearing loss and were Veterans recruited from the Mountain Home, Tennessee Veterans Affairs (VAs) Medical Center Audiology clinic. The ‘young–old’ group (YOHL) had a mean age of 66.3 years (SD = 2.0, range = 63–69; 24 male), and the ‘older’ group (OHL) had a mean age of 74.3 years (SD = 3.2, range = 70–80; 24 male). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) confirmed a significant difference in age among the three listener groups, F(2,71) = 2416.4, p < 0.001. The average education level was 15.3 years (SD = 2.1, range = 12–20) for the YN listeners, 14.9 years (SD = 2.7, range = 12–20) for the YOHL listeners, and 13.9 years (SD = 2.5, range = 8–18) for the OHL listeners; a one-way ANOVA indicated no significant group difference in education level (p > 0.05). Figure 1 illustrates the average audiogram of the test ear of the three listener groups (right ear of even-numbered participants and left ear of odd-numbered participants). A repeated-measures ANOVA for audiometric thresholds across frequency of the test ear (within-subjects factor) with hearing loss groups (YOHL and OHL) as between-subjects factors, revealed no significant main effects of group, nor was there a frequency by group interaction (p > 0.05), suggesting similar test-ear audiograms for the YOHL and OHL groups.

Bottom Line: There was a significant group difference and a wider range in performance on LWMS than on RWMS.Notably, there were only few significant correlations among the working memory and speech understanding measures.These findings suggest that working memory measures reflect individual differences that are distinct from those tapped by these measures of speech understanding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Audiologic Rehabilitation Laboratory, Auditory Vestibular Research Enhancement Award Program, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN USA ; Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN USA.

ABSTRACT
Listeners with hearing loss commonly report having difficulty understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments. Their difficulties could be due to auditory and cognitive processing problems. Performance on speech-in-noise tests has been correlated with reading working memory span (RWMS), a measure often chosen to avoid the effects of hearing loss. If the goal is to assess the cognitive consequences of listeners' auditory processing abilities, however, then listening working memory span (LWMS) could be a more informative measure. Some studies have examined the effects of different degrees and types of masking on working memory, but less is known about the demands placed on working memory depending on the linguistic complexity of the target speech or the task used to measure speech understanding in listeners with hearing loss. Compared to RWMS, LWMS measures using different speech targets and maskers may provide a more ecologically valid approach. To examine the contributions of RWMS and LWMS to speech understanding, we administered two working memory measures (a traditional RWMS measure and a new LWMS measure), and a battery of tests varying in the linguistic complexity of the speech materials, the presence of babble masking, and the task. Participants were a group of younger listeners with normal hearing and two groups of older listeners with hearing loss (n = 24 per group). There was a significant group difference and a wider range in performance on LWMS than on RWMS. There was a significant correlation between both working memory measures only for the oldest listeners with hearing loss. Notably, there were only few significant correlations among the working memory and speech understanding measures. These findings suggest that working memory measures reflect individual differences that are distinct from those tapped by these measures of speech understanding.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus