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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 individual datum points (open symbols) for reading span are plotted as a function of performance on the Words-In-Noise #2 Test (WIN#2) for the young–old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL). The large-filled symbols represent the group mean data. The solid line represents equal performance and the dashed line represents the linear regression through the datum points.
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Figure 4: The individual datum points (open symbols) for reading span are plotted as a function of performance on the Words-In-Noise #2 Test (WIN#2) for the young–old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL). The large-filled symbols represent the group mean data. The solid line represents equal performance and the dashed line represents the linear regression through the datum points.

Mentions: For each group, separate correlation analyses (controlling for high-frequency pure-tone average of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz) were conducted to examine the associations between the RS and WARRM span measures and each speech understanding measure. The only significant correlation found for the YOHL group was between the RS and WIN#2 scores (r = 0.49, p = 0.02; see Figure 4). For the YN listeners, WARRM span was significantly correlated with the QuickSIN (r = -0.48, p = 0.02) and RS was correlated with LISN information (r = 0.47, p = 0.02; see Figure 5). Aside from the few significant correlations, the general lack of significant correlations did not support our hypotheses that working memory would be correlated with results on tests of speech understanding and that the correlations would strengthen as the linguistic complexity of speech materials increased, particularly for OHL listeners. In fact, there were no significant correlations between working memory and speech understanding measures for the OHL listeners.


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 individual datum points (open symbols) for reading span are plotted as a function of performance on the Words-In-Noise #2 Test (WIN#2) for the young–old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL). The large-filled symbols represent the group mean data. The solid line represents equal performance and the dashed line represents the linear regression through the datum points.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: The individual datum points (open symbols) for reading span are plotted as a function of performance on the Words-In-Noise #2 Test (WIN#2) for the young–old listeners with hearing loss (YOHL). The large-filled symbols represent the group mean data. The solid line represents equal performance and the dashed line represents the linear regression through the datum points.
Mentions: For each group, separate correlation analyses (controlling for high-frequency pure-tone average of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz) were conducted to examine the associations between the RS and WARRM span measures and each speech understanding measure. The only significant correlation found for the YOHL group was between the RS and WIN#2 scores (r = 0.49, p = 0.02; see Figure 4). For the YN listeners, WARRM span was significantly correlated with the QuickSIN (r = -0.48, p = 0.02) and RS was correlated with LISN information (r = 0.47, p = 0.02; see Figure 5). Aside from the few significant correlations, the general lack of significant correlations did not support our hypotheses that working memory would be correlated with results on tests of speech understanding and that the correlations would strengthen as the linguistic complexity of speech materials increased, particularly for OHL listeners. In fact, there were no significant correlations between working memory and speech understanding measures for the OHL listeners.

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