Examining Speech Perception in Noise and Cognitive Functions in the Elderly Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of cognitive functions (i.e., working memory [WM]) and speech recognition against different background maskers in older individuals. Method Speech reception thresholds (SRTs) were determined using a matrix-sentence test. Unmodulated noise, modulated noise (International Collegium for Rehabilitative Audiology ... Research Forum
Research Forum  |   December 01, 2013
Examining Speech Perception in Noise and Cognitive Functions in the Elderly
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hartmut Meister
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT-Research, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Stefan Schreitmüller
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT-Research, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Linda Grugel
    Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT-Research, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Dirk Beutner
    University of Cologne, Germany
  • Martin Walger
    University of Cologne, Germany
  • Ingo Meister
    University of Cologne, Germany
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Hartmut Meister: hartmut.meister@uni-koeln.de
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Forum
Research Forum   |   December 01, 2013
Examining Speech Perception in Noise and Cognitive Functions in the Elderly
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 310-312. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0067)
History: Received November 21, 2012 , Revised December 18, 2012 , Accepted December 20, 2012
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 310-312. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0067)
History: Received November 21, 2012; Revised December 18, 2012; Accepted December 20, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of cognitive functions (i.e., working memory [WM]) and speech recognition against different background maskers in older individuals.

Method Speech reception thresholds (SRTs) were determined using a matrix-sentence test. Unmodulated noise, modulated noise (International Collegium for Rehabilitative Audiology [ICRA] noise 5-250), and speech fragments (International Speech Test Signal [ISTS]) were used as background maskers. Verbal WM was assessed using the Verbal Learning and Memory Test (VLMT; Helmstaedter & Durwen, 1990). Measurements were conducted with 14 normal-hearing older individuals and a control group of 12 normal-hearing young listeners.

Results Despite their normal hearing ability, the young listeners outperformed the older individuals in all background maskers. These differences were largest for the modulated maskers. SRTs were significantly correlated with the scores of the VLMT. A linear regression model also included WM as the only significant predictor variable.

Conclusions The results support the assumption that WM plays an important role for speech understanding and that it might have impact on results obtained using speech audiometry. Thus, an individual's WM capacity should be considered with aural diagnosis and rehabilitation. The VLMT proved to be a clinically applicable test for WM. Further cognitive functions important with speech understanding are currently being investigated within the SAKoLA (Sprachaudiometrie und kognitive Leistungen im Alter [Speech Audiometry and Cognitive Functions in the Elderly]) project.

Acknowledgments
The SAKoLA project is supported by the Marga-und-Walter Boll Foundation (Reference 210-08-11).
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