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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

The mean reading span (RS; black) and Word Auditory Recognition and Recall Measure (WARRM) span size scores (gray) are plotted as a function of listener group. The error bars represent one standard deviation. YN, young–old listeners with hearing loss; YOHL, young–old listeners with hearing loss; and OHL, older listeners with hearing loss.
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Figure 2: The mean reading span (RS; black) and Word Auditory Recognition and Recall Measure (WARRM) span size scores (gray) are plotted as a function of listener group. The error bars represent one standard deviation. YN, young–old listeners with hearing loss; YOHL, young–old listeners with hearing loss; and OHL, older listeners with hearing loss.

Mentions: The results obtained for the RS (visual) and WARRM (auditory) working memory tests were compared to evaluate differences due to test modality. Figure 2 illustrates the mean performance on the RS and WARRM tests for each listener group. A repeated measures ANOVA with group as the between-subjects variable (YN, YOHL, and OHL) was performed using span scores to compare test modalities (visual with the RS and auditory with the WARRM) as the within-subjects variable. The results showed a main effect of modality, F(1,69) = 172.5, p < 0.001, = 0.71, a main effect of group, F(2,69) = 23.9, p < 0.001, = 0.41, and a group by modality interaction, F(2,69) = 7.4, p < 0.001, = 0.18. Post hoc analyses showed that for the main effect of group (collapsed across RS and WARRM), the younger group performed best, followed by the two older groups, who had similar performance. For the main effect of modality (collapsed across group), performance was better on the WARRM span auditory test compared to the visual RS test. For the group by modality interaction, all groups performed better on the WARRM span (auditory) test relative to the RS (visual) test, but the difference between performances on these measures was larger for the younger listeners with normal hearing compared to the older listener groups who had similar differences in performance between the span measures.


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)

The mean reading span (RS; black) and Word Auditory Recognition and Recall Measure (WARRM) span size scores (gray) are plotted as a function of listener group. The error bars represent one standard deviation. YN, young–old listeners with hearing loss; YOHL, young–old listeners with hearing loss; and OHL, older listeners with hearing loss.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: The mean reading span (RS; black) and Word Auditory Recognition and Recall Measure (WARRM) span size scores (gray) are plotted as a function of listener group. The error bars represent one standard deviation. YN, young–old listeners with hearing loss; YOHL, young–old listeners with hearing loss; and OHL, older listeners with hearing loss.
Mentions: The results obtained for the RS (visual) and WARRM (auditory) working memory tests were compared to evaluate differences due to test modality. Figure 2 illustrates the mean performance on the RS and WARRM tests for each listener group. A repeated measures ANOVA with group as the between-subjects variable (YN, YOHL, and OHL) was performed using span scores to compare test modalities (visual with the RS and auditory with the WARRM) as the within-subjects variable. The results showed a main effect of modality, F(1,69) = 172.5, p < 0.001, = 0.71, a main effect of group, F(2,69) = 23.9, p < 0.001, = 0.41, and a group by modality interaction, F(2,69) = 7.4, p < 0.001, = 0.18. Post hoc analyses showed that for the main effect of group (collapsed across RS and WARRM), the younger group performed best, followed by the two older groups, who had similar performance. For the main effect of modality (collapsed across group), performance was better on the WARRM span auditory test compared to the visual RS test. For the group by modality interaction, all groups performed better on the WARRM span (auditory) test relative to the RS (visual) test, but the difference between performances on these measures was larger for the younger listeners with normal hearing compared to the older listener groups who had similar differences in performance between the span measures.

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