SPiN, listening effort, hearing, and cognition (Stenbäck et al., 2022)
Purpose: The study aimed to assess the relationship between (a) speech recognition in noise, mask type, working memory capacity (WMC), and inhibitory control and (b) self-rated listening effort, speech material, and mask type, in older adults with and without hearing impairment. It was of special interest to assess the relationship between WMC, inhibitory control, and speech recognition in noise when informational maskers masked target speech.
Method: A mixed design was used. A group (N = 24) of older (Mage = 69.7 years) individuals with hearing impairment and a group of age normal–hearing adults (Mage = 59.3 years, SD = 6.5) participated in the study. The participants were presented with auditory tests in a sound-attenuated room and with cognitive tests in a quiet office. The participants were asked to rate listening effort after being presented with energetic and informational background maskers in two different speech materials used in this study (i.e., Hearing In Noise Test and Hagerman test). Linear mixed-effects models were set up to assess the effect of the two different speech materials, energetic and informational maskers, hearing ability, WMC, inhibitory control, and self-rated listening effort.
Results: Results showed that WMC and inhibitory control were of importance for speech recognition in noise, even when controlling for pure-tone average 4 hearing thresholds and age, when the maskers were informational. Concerning listening effort, on the other hand, the results suggest that hearing ability, but not cognitive abilities, is important for self-rated listening effort in speech recognition in noise.
Conclusions: Speech-in-noise recognition is more dependent on WMC for older adults in informational maskers than in energetic maskers. Hearing ability is a stronger predictor than cognition for self-rated listening effort.
Supplemental Material S1. Variables removed using backward stepwise deletion. SNR as dependent variable.
Supplemental Material S2. Variables removed using backward stepwise deletion. Effort as dependent variable.
Stenbäck, V., Marsja, E., Hällgren, M., Lyxell, B., & Larsby, B. (2022). Informational masking and listening effort in speech recognition in noise: The role of working memory capacity and inhibitory control in older adults with and without hearing impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_JSLHR-21-00674